European Journal of Social Theory 24 (4):485-506 (2021)

The challenge of realizing the democratic power of publics through public sphere remains acute but not hopeless. While claiming that Habermas communicative social theory offers a way forward in spite of a productive but constraining turn towards a modified social liberal frame, nonetheless three limitations of the theory are identified. The first bears on the insufficiency of the sociological evolutionist description of society relevant to the public sphere drawn from classical sociological accounts of differentiation and integration. The second identifies learning theoretical limitations of the normative interactionist, proceduralist account of democracy and democratization potentials. And the third observes on the disconnection between the theory of communicative reasoning from, on the one hand, the critique of pathologies of reasoning, and, on the other, from its implications for lifeworld rationalization. These identified limitations are intended to provide new impetus to radically rethink the public sphere as intrinsic to solving contemporary problems of democracy that Habermas’s more recent account of deliberative theory, with the public sphere merely supplementary, cannot fully do. Yet, with Habermas, this should be on the basis of advancing the communication theory of democracy.
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DOI 10.1177/1368431020983224
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Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Truth and Method.H. G. Gadamer - 1975 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 36 (4):487-490.

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