Pages 11

Habermas’ public sphere was based primarily on the process of debate

and knowledge exchange. The participants’ status was not a factor in

the success or character of the public sphere. In response, Fraser (1992)

asserts that it is unrealistic to assume that the historical exclusion of

women, or the racial and property criteria needed to participate in the

public sphere, can be overlooked. Rather, the likelihood is that

ignoring group differences will lead to the exclusion of some groups

from participation within the public sphere. For Fraser the solution is

to see not a singular public sphere but a number of public sphericules,

through which groups interact, contest and withdraw to when they so

desire. In viewing the public sphere theory in this way, it is possible to

offset the reality that participatory privileges are something to be

enjoyed only by members of the dominant group.