Society categorizes people into socioeconomic statuses based on income, job, social status
Rethinking the Public sphere
Public Sphere VS public sphere & counterpublics
Habermas idealizes the liberal/bourgeois public sphere
“Moreover, the problem is not only that Habermas idealizes the liberal public sphere but also that he fails to examine other, nonliberal, nonbourgeois, competing public spheres. Or rather, it is precisely because he fails to examine these other public spheres that he ends up idealizing the liberal public sphere” (Fraser, p. 115, second full para)
There have always been multiple publics (and that's a good thing)
ex. Abolitionist Movement, Suffrage Movement, Temperance Movement
Critiques Several Assumptions
The assumption that it is possible to bracket status and deliberate as if we were social equals.
Nearly impossible on a structural and informal level
"...discursive interaction within the bourgeois public sphere was governed by protocols of style and decorum that were themselves correlates and markers of status inequalities. These functioned informally to marginalize women and members of the plebeian classes and to prevent them from participating as peers." (Fraser 63)
Ex. Black Vernacular English
Other examples of informal barriers?
When did/do we ever deliberate as equals? Is it possible?
The assumption that discourse in public sphere should always about the common good and the appearance of private interests and private issues is always undesirable.
- Public vs Private interest - masculinist public
- Ex. "That's a personal problem"
- Who gets to decide what is the common good or concern?
- Ex. CR Groups
subaltern COUNTERPUBLIC DEFINED
"they are parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counterdiscourses to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and needs" (Fraser, p. 115)
- Thematize status and identity
- Formulate language and opinion
Which is which?
ASSOCIATED STUDENTS, PRIDE CENTER, MECHA
Considering what we've discussed so far, is the KKK a counterpublic?
Let me not be misunderstood. I do not mean to suggest that subaltern counterpublics are always necessarily virtuous; some of them, alas, are explicitly anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian; and even those with democratic and egalitarian intentions are not always above practicing their own modes of informal exclusion and marginalization. Still, insofar as these counterpublics emerge in response to exclusions within dominant publics, they help expand discursive space. (Fraser 67)
- as spaces of withdrawal and regroupment
- training grounds for agitational activities directed toward wider publics
WEAK AND STRONG PUBLICS
Solely opinion formation or move beyond formation and includes decision making
Have always existed, but does one exist now?