New Publics With/Out Democracy

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The public sphere is normally considered to be a forum for democratic deliberation. It can serve many other uses, however, such as an arena for strategic communication, a space for identity formation or a 'showcase' for celebrities. By bringing together researchers from political science, public administration, sociology and media studies, this book presents a comprehensive perspective on the transformation of the public sphere in the emerging network society. The book presents a series of theoretical and empirical contributions concerning current changes in political communication, participation, identity and the role of the media and journalists. Within a common framework of analysis, the individual chapters in the book cover a wide range of issues concerning the way political institutions, citizens, NGOs, firms and not least the media and journalists engage the public sphere, such as post-ideological politics, governance by performance and evaluation, transnationalisation, branding, Internet use and journalistic praxis. Although the book clearly suggests that the public sphere is an increasingly important medium of politically active and informed agents, it also insists that it proceeds far beyond the democratic publics of parliament and citizens in civil society.