Essay Title: 

Is there a public sphere online?

April 3, 2016 | Author: | Posted in education

Running Head : Presence Of Online Public Sphere

Presence Of Online Public Sphere

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Historically , the public and private spheres have been separated into diametrically opposed realms of public discourse and private family-related discourses . However , today men and women both are blending their public and private roles in such a way that the two cannot be separated . Yet societal attitudes and biases still favor the forced divisions of public and private . As Kawamoto (2003 ) argued , this construction of the public and private as two mutually exclusive spheres is a [banner_entry_middle]

false dichotomy . Furthermore , the private sphere , in particular , is a feminine gendered space . McLuhan (1964 ) discussed gendered space as a geographical area with established boundaries between women ‘s and men ‘s knowledge

It seems hard to evaluate the presence of the online public sphere (if any ) but practically it is easy to evaluate through observations Previously there were many obstructions between an individual and the sources that person used to consult for knowing the happenings or for the purpose of understanding what was happening in the world , the only sources were television or news . The line sooner got extended and Internet appeared in the form of a world that has got both , pros and cons . The society took a new turn by exploring the Internet deeper and deeper and sooner the society merged itself within the Internet . It is however easy to get out of the formed society if one is willing to where as the problems are always there when one tried to get out of the traditional or perhaps visible society , but there are lesser issues in moving out of the online society . It can be found commonly that people prefer to have online discussions on various issues and mostly they come up with good and valid ideas . But when it comes to the political discussion , the online public sphere is hard to be evaluated , it seems that we have to go into the history and the details for evaluating such question

If public opinion did influence political life , how was it structured Was it an essentially unitary consensual force , as many contemporary including Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued , and most French revolutionaries seem tragically to have believed ? Or was it divided and fragmentary ? If so , how could a fragmentary public opinion operate in monarchical states which were by nature unitary ? Was public opinion the outcome of enlightened , disinterested debate and hence the embodiment of reason , as both Immanuel Kant and Rousseau seemed to believe , or was it ultimately contestable and malleable as the propagandists described by Keith Michael Baker and their patrons seemed to have intuited ? The profoundest meditations on these s are those of the German philosopher J ‘rgen Habermas on the development of a bourgeois public sphere . This has provided many historians with a theoretical basis from which to explore the political culture of the ancient regime For Habermas , the political public sphere was part of a specific stage in early capitalist commercial relations . It was directly linked to the growth of a self-conscious bourgeoisie and the emergence of a reasoning public that could be critical of administration and sought to influence political power . The space within which this new public operated , the tension charged field of state-society relations , was the public sphere The public sphere was dependent upon new networks of communications on two levels . First , because factors like a press and a reading public allowed the exchange of information and ideas . Second , these developments themselves created a new institutional context for political action . Habermas argues that the political public sphere issued directly from the public literary sphere based in the institutions of Enlightenment sociability , such as salons , coffee houses , clubs , debating societies and above all periodical literature

For Habermas , then , the political public sphere was open to anyone with access to print . This degree of participation contrasts forcibly with older modes of political action that centred on the royal court or oligarchical elites and were conducted in secret . Habermas ‘s public sphere was essentially egalitarian . The judgements of the rational-critical public differentiated between individuals and their arguments only in the quality of their critical reasoning , thus ignoring the hierarchical distinctions of ancien regime society . No sphere of human activity was exempt from the scrutiny of this new rational-critical public . This being the case , the opinion of the public increasingly assumed the role of a legitimising tribunal which judged the acts of political authority and invoked the universal and constant force of reason against the supposedly chaotic commands of arbitrary will and traditional institutions . However , despite Habermas ‘s assertion that the public sphere had to be accessible to all , it was never truly democratic . He acknowledged that his analysis of the `liberal model ‘ of the public sphere failed to incorporate the `plebeian public sphere Instead , he defined the public sphere as essentially `bourgeois sociologically separate both from the public power of ruling elites and from the `people , who lacked the skills and opportunity to make public use of their reason . The basis of public opinion , Habermas argues , was `class interest , but the ideological fiction of universal access was maintained , and was indeed vital , to the continued existence of the public sphere . Habermas seeks to make up for the absence of the people in his model by arguing that they were nevertheless represented by the public sphere , since the public ‘s opinion was objectively harmonious with the general interest

Although Habermas addresses the specific cases of England , France and Germany , his model is , in principle , applicable more widely , since it focuses on historical categories and their functions rather than on historical events . Habermas dates the formation of the bourgeois or public sphere in France to the mid-eighteenth century , and somewhat later in Germany , but emphasises their limited nature in comparison with the `ideal type ‘ represented by England , where the strength of liberal capitalism and a lack of censorship allowed for a freer formulation of the public sphere than was possible under the heavy censorship of ancient regime societies

France and Germany are relegated by Habermas to the status of `continental variants . It was only in England , prior to 1789 , he argues , that the individual bourgeois could articulate a political critique of government based on the interests of private property rather than take part in the `pre-political ‘ literary public spheres of France and Germany , which were principally aimed at self-enlightenment (Barker , Burrows 199 : 2002

The events of the Revolution , however , created in France overnight , if in a less durable form , what in England took more than a century to develop : the institutions of a politically reasoning public . In the years which followed , both German and French law were altered to suit a capitalist model of free market relations , thereby guaranteeing property rights and protecting the interests of bourgeois society in line with English law , demonstrating that the bourgeois public sphere had reached its most developed state as it was able to compel state authority to respond to its needs . To sum up , in those territories with the most progressive governments , the strongest stimulus to the development of public opinion came from the governments themselves . As a consequence the development of the public sphere did not take place in opposition to the established authorities , but rather under the tutelage of the state However , it was only within a limited sphere of discussion , in which free information was legitimate as long as it supported or did not harm the government ‘s activities , that the political press could contribute to shaping conflicting positions within public opinion

Bringing the public sphere from newss to Internet is no different as the newss themselves are available online and people prefer to sit in various forums for discussions . When a really appeals people naturally go on to various forums for discussions many miles apart may write back and forth for weeks or even months , negotiating the difficult rhetorical territory of trying to figure out what their distant communication partners know and what more they should say on a variety of s . People or net users may transform a question from one person into statements of their own (or the reverse . On an international e-mail list , a handful of people may try to persuade the others of a particular point of view , responding to arguments , point by point , over a series of messages

Internet language represents an interesting genre , certainly not written language as we normally think about it , but not quite oral language either . Quite some time ago , McLuhan (1980 ) attempted to distinguish between oral and written language . He noted that a person ‘s oral language experiences are mostly interactive conversations in which the person participates as both speaker and listener . Participants share a spatial and temporal context , and their verbal communication is augmented by various forms of nonverbal communication , such as gesture Written language experiences are also interactive , but the reader does not participate as writer except in the most extraordinary of instances (e .g , an editor sitting next to an author reviewing text and jotting down suggested modifications , and participants in written language experiences seldom share the same space and time . In Internet discourse the distinction between spoken and written language is definitely blurred . There is permanent representation , for messages are stored as electronic data , and they can be retrieved (and thus analyzed by us with ease . However , there are many conversational elements : involvement almost time , if not space , in common because of the potential of quick response effective substitutes for gesture (e .g , an asterisk or CAPS for emphasis and an informal , interactive style in which talk words (e .g , say ‘ tell ‘ and hear ) appear frequently . There is also an egalitarian nature of the Internet . Young and old , brainy and not-so-brainy , ugly and handsome persons can participate as long as they have the mechanical tools (computer , account , and telephone access , and each can decide how many personal characteristics to disclose to communication partners

The other factor that should be considered important is the time and physical presence , employees at an organisation would have to be on the job for any purpose , even if they can do the work at home , this is particularly important in the absence of the internet communications The Internet provides the people with an opportunity to stay at home while continuing their work , it is easily identifiable when we talk about the online distance learning . Many of the universities are providing an online distance-learning program that is reflecting the reliability factor , particularly the reliability on the Internet . There are other benefits associated with the Internet as well . Ideally the Internet is a space that eliminates gendered , racist , ageist , and all other oppressions . However , the Web has taken on a distinctly gendered nature , and , moreover , individual Web sites have taken on gendered presentations . The technology of the Web carries a number of patriarchal and masculine connotations . Individual sites often reflect an active gendered nature , illustrated in the images , sounds , language , and color schemes used on the sites . This gendering of the Web is often intentional , as in the case of a number of feminist sites . Organisations that maintain these sites use their Internet space as gendered sites for negotiating feminist ideologies with the gendered nature of reality . All this is suggesting that there is the existence of a public sphere where political information is discussed , and the increased use of Internet is fully capable of doing it

According to some research , it has been identified that women have played even a better role in the development of the Internet Information is the primary resource of the Internet or cyberspace Information builds and operates cyberspace through its construction and distribution . However , offline realities define the value of online information . Although historically women have been active in the construction of the Web , they have not been viewed as the producers of meaning in Web spaces . The Internet , initially viewed as part of the public sphere , serves as a tool of patriarchy . However , with feminist standpoint theories viewing gender as performative , feminists have determined it is possible to build identities online , masked in patriarchal characteristics so as to access power and generate feminist ideals

Cyberspace has been common among feminists as a reasonable place for women to meet and argue the political issues they see else where necessarily in the press or in the form of rumours . It is a visible thing that people do not usually disclose their gender and other characteristics online , as there is no verification for them , women usually believe that it is natural for them to identify the other person online . Researchers oppose this view , physical characteristics over the Internet are by the use of a different online identity , for them the important thing is the discussion of a particular issue , regardless of who they are talking to . However , men in Western society are the Internet ‘s primary users who are although commonly seen in the political discussions . As a form of information technology , cyberspace operates as a means to perpetuate the structural norms of Western society . The Internet is a powerful tool and is therefore viewed as a primarily masculine space that serves the needs of the patriarchal structure in which it operates

Online organisational practices , telecommuting , and home-based work are arrangements suited to changing organisational and workforce demands These organisational styles are distinct for two reasons : Work and communication are accomplished and transported technologically , while time-space relations are being reconsidered and recreated within specific organisational cultures . Whereas management and communication accounts and investigations of technology have centered on instrumental directives associated with telecommuting practices (and associated with conduit and linkage metaphors , they have failed to account for the differential experiences of organisational participants with cyborg identities , especially when those identities become the organisation ‘s identity . The problems of organisational communication assist in ferreting out the complexities of technological advances embedded within organisational cultural assumptions . Internet serves best to those parents who have come across many problems because of their newly born babies , not only providing them the worldly news but also the opportunity to be an entrepreneur of a home based business . Most of these entrepreneurs start their own businesses to spend more time with their families . For some women the catalyst is a newborn baby whom they do not want to leave . For others , commuting long distances wastes valuable time that could be spent caring for children and elderly parents . Still others just want to be their own bosses . What many of these women crave is a way to blend simultaneously work and family responsibilities . They seek to break down the boundaries that separate work and home , public and private , and professional and family

At many occasions public sphere over the Internet is exchanged by e-sphere . Cyber business and e-commerce will become unremittingly global in impact in another decade or two . But , it will not be easy . Social and cultural integration to create a true e-Sphere may consume all of the twenty-first century . Those companies whose approach to business markets cannot easily adjust to globalism and e-commerce are potentially in for big trouble . We are talking about much more than selling projects via the Internet . This also involves organizing for electronic billing servicing and maintenance , design and engineering , telecommuting , and global cultural and political agility

People chose one channel over another to fulfill specific needs , and generally people face-to-face interaction to meet their other needs , the political discussion is although online because of many reasons as one is unable to find the other person ‘s favour . It is therefore suitable for people as they find the relevant places or forums for particular discussion and do say what they are willing to say without the other person ‘s willingness to accept it . The results of this study suggest that the Internet and face-to-face communication are specialised channels , meaning , quite simply , that people choose them to fulfill particular needs . Consequently , a person might turn to the Internet if he or she wants to enjoy some conversation , but the same individual would seek out a physical presence for affection

Social presence theory offers one possible explanation for why some people may find online communication impersonal . Because many computer-mediated channels provide fewer nonverbal cues to interpret the meaning of messages , the relatively lean ‘ messages they deliver can be perceived as less personal . People who prefer the nods , smiles , and touches that can accompany a face-to-face interaction would probably find little warmth in the phosphorescent glow of the computer screen However , from the research it has been found that a considerable amount of world ‘s population is finding the online communication truly wonderful as it waives them from many requirements and formalities they would have to perform in face-to-face communication . People tend to consider the online world a much realistic world full of many common things that can be found in the actual real world . On the basis of the entire discussion , it is suitable to say that there is a public sphere online , which is bringing people closer and closer while eradicating the existing gaps that are prominent in the actual world , people come up with many outcomes on which they support a particular issue they are discussing or they go against it which results in online grouping and so people find them in various groups

References

Barker H Burrows S (2002 , Press , Politics and the Public Sphere in Europe and North America 1760-1820 , Cambridge , England :Cambridge University Press

Kawamoto , K (2003 . Media and society in the digital age , Boston Allyn Bacon

Whittaker S Sidner C (1997 , Email overload : Exploring personal information management of email , Mahwah , NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

McLuhan M (1964 , Understanding media : The extension of man , New York : Routledge

Kaye B . K Medoff , N . J (1999 , The World Wide Web : A mass communication perspective , Mountain View , CA : Mayfield

Dahlgren

, Sparks C (1991 , Communication and Citizenship Journalism and the Public Sphere in the New Media Age , London Routledge L ‘Etang J (2004 , Public Relations in Britain : A History of Professional Practice in the Twentieth Century , Mahwah , NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

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