chapter  3
17 Pages

Voicing issues

The public sphere and the media
ByBridgette Wessels

This chapter argues that communication media — print, analogue, digital and oral — are interacting with society in symbolic and increasingly digitally networked ways in configuring the public spheres. These configurations shape the ways that opinions can be expressed and heard across public arenas that consequently comprise forms of interaction with political culture and in democratic processes. The different rationalities about proximity and scale of communication raise certain issues in relation to the character of public discourse. There have certainly been criticisms about the lack of inclusivity in the public sphere historically, and the way that the media can mediate issues in ethical ways. The rise of digital communication has emphasised each of themes because it creates a different communicative relationship between people and amongst people and institutions. However, whether these relations are emancipatory and progressive in terms of equality and inclusiveness or not depends on the social relations of digital and social media and its use in political culture.