The Public Sphere is declining, “If we are to believe what sociologists are telling us, the public sphere is in a near terminal state.” (Johnson, 2006) Habermas defined the Public Sphere as both the public and the state working together and communicating with each other. A democratic society is a good example of a public sphere because the public are able to have a say in what they what. People with similar and different ideas are able to come together and talk about what they want. The Public Sphere is “a willingness to engage with the particular issues thrown up by contemporary politics is, for Habermas, a central responsibility of the critical theorist.” (Johnson, 2006) Meaning it is good to engage with each other about different issues.
Castells defined a network society a little differently, he defines it as more of an online way of communicating instead of in person. “Castells defines ‘network’ explicitly as a set of interconnected nodes of which he mentions such examples as stock exchange markets and their ancillary centers of advanced financial services in the network of global financial flows.” (Anttiroiko, 2015) Nodes are important and are connected to each other in different ways.
This is a good image that shows how public opinion can be influenced by media.
Having a network society can be both a good thing and a bad thing. While online communication can be good, it also takes away from in person relationships. It is also a problem when some people may not have internet, so it hasn’t really improved their lives any. When it comes to education, we have seen over the years that learning has focused more on technology. Today, kids take laptops with them to class to take notes on, whereas before that wasn’t an option. Also, in health care, a patient’s health file used to be stored with lots of other files, but we are seeing more and more that even with health care, those files are now online. Technology is always changing and everywhere we look, there are always new advances when it comes to technology.
Anttiroiko, A. (2015, July 15). Networks in Manuel Castells’ theory of the network society. Retrieved from https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/65617/
Johnson, P. (2006). Habermas: Rescuing the Public Sphere. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://proxy.library.vcu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url,cookie,uid&db=nlebk&AN=157805&site=ehost-live&scope=site