public sphere


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public sphere

HABERMAS's (1962) term for the ‘literate bourgeois public’ (and later the ‘public at large’), which can act as a critical counterbalance to the STATE. Habermas's historical portrayal of a ‘critical forum’ of independent voices free from state power is the basis of his later conception of politics and TRUTH, located in terms of an ‘ideal speech situation’. Compare CIVIL SOCIETY; see also PUBLIC OPINION; PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SPHERE.