The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

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pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson


Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Landlord's Game, lone genius, megacity, Minecraft, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition,, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

The first person to hang out a shingle and serve drinks to paying customers—at some point back in the dawn of civilization—almost certainly had no idea that his or her innovation would ultimately support political and sexual revolutions that would reverberate around the world. A space originally intended for play and leisure became, improbably enough, a hotbed of dangerous new ideas. These kinds of spaces played a defining role in one of the most influential works of sociology published in the twentieth century: Jürgen Habermas’s The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Originally conceived while Habermas was working as a graduate student under the legendary Frankfurt School Marxists Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, the book was actually his doctoral dissertation, though Habermas broke off with his mentors due to their “paralyzing political skepticism.” (With almost fifteen thousand citations tracked in Google Scholar, it stands as one of the most cited dissertations in the history of academia.)

And, like the Black Cat and the Stonewall Inn two centuries later, it was a space that “presupposed the problematization of areas that until then had not been questioned.” For Habermas, the public sphere was not simply architectural; it was also facilitated by new developments in media, particularly the rise of pamphleteering that was so central to Enlightenment discourse. Taverns, salons, and drinking societies play a role in The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. (Had Habermas focused more on the American Revolution, they might have even had a starring role.) But for Habermas, the revolutionary ideas of the eighteenth century were ultimately dependent not on the beer and wine of tavern culture, but on another drug that had just arrived in the cities of Europe: coffee. — The story of how humans developed a taste for coffee—and, indirectly, an addiction to caffeine, now the most popular psychoactive compound on the planet—conventionally dates back to the Ethiopian city of Harar, where it is believed that the coffee plant, Coffea arabica, was first domesticated.

“kissing other men”: Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons, Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians (New York: Basic Books, 2006, Kindle edition), Kindle locations 1864–1872. “paralyzing political skepticism”: Craig Calhoun, Contemporary Sociological Theory (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2012), 256. Habermas observed: Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989), 26. “a kind of social intercourse”: Ibid. “When insects feed on caffeine-spiked nectar”: Carl Zimmer, “How Caffeine Evolved to Help Plants Survive and Help People Wake Up,” The New York Times (September 4, 2014). “syrup of soot”: Matthew Green, “The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse,” Public Domain Review 7 (2013).


pages: 263 words: 75,610

Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

Amazon:, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, full text search, George Akerlof, information retrieval, information trail, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, moveable type in China, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, RFID, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Market for Lemons, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Vannevar Bush

See Man, The Gutenberg Revolution, 113; in detail, see Lee, The Social and Class Structure of Early Chosun. 38. Kilgour, 111. 39. Ibid., 112. 40. Ibid., 99; see also Graff, The Legacies of Literacy, 303–14. 41. Eliot, “Never Mind the Value, What about the Price,” 188. 42. Ibid., 165; Kilgour, 112. 43. The most famous description and analysis of these spaces of public discourse is found in Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. 44. The situation was somewhat different in the United States, where owners of local printing presses often published local newspapers to provide them with a much-needed additional revenue stream. Far away from global news, those living in North America desired newspapers as a connection to the rest of the world. See Febvre and Martin, 211. 45. Starr, The Creation of the Media, 48. 46.

Democracy by Disclosure: The Rise of Technopopulism. Washington, DC: Brookings. 2002. Greenwald, Glenn. “What Does Sarah Palin Have to Hide in Her Yahoo E-mails?” Sept. 18, 2008. Griswold, Charles L. Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2007. Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991. Halderman, J. Alex, Brent R. Waters, and Edward W. Felten. “Privacy Management for Portable Recording Devices.” Workshop on Privacy in Electronic Society, November 2004. Hansell, Saul. “Sellers Give Negative Feedback on eBay Changes.” The New York Times (Jan. 29, 2008).


pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan


1960s counterculture, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, computer age, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, data acquisition, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full text search, global village, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pirate software, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, single-payer health, Skype, social web, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, web application

The tragedy of the public sphere, Habermas argues, is that its core institutions, such as newspapers and broadcasting, became so rampantly commercialized in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that they failed to support the goals of keeping a republic informed and engaged. When it comes to the Web and the influence of Google on the Web, we can see a case study in which Habermas’s narrative of the collapse of the public sphere has unfolded in a very short time.50 The global network of networks that we call the Internet represents the first major revolution in communications to occur since Habermas’s influential historical work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, was first published in 1962.51 Habermas described a moment in the social and political history of Europe in which a rising bourgeoisie was able to gather in salons and cafes to discuss matters of public concern. The public sphere represented a set of sites and conventions in the eighteenth century in which (almost exclusively male) members of the bourgeoisie could forge a third space between the domestic sphere and the sphere of formal state power.

Norton, 2006); Gillian Brock and Harry Brighouse, The Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Martha Nussbaum, The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007). 49. Jürgen Habermas, “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article,” in Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks, ed. Meenakshi Durham and Douglas Kellner (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2001), 102–7. 50. Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989). 51. Ibid. I use the word revolution cautiously. It is far too early to assess the effects of the Internet in a balanced and sober manner. Hyperbole and fear still dominate the discussions of the effects of the Internet on culture, societies, politics, and economics. In addition, the Internet hype may have distracted scholars from another revolution.


pages: 518 words: 107,836

How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (Information Policy) by Benjamin Peters


Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Brownian motion, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, double helix, Drosophila, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, hive mind, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Peter Thiel, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, scientific mainstream, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technoutopianism, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, transaction costs, Turing machine

Michael Gordin, Hellen Tilley, and Gyan Prakash, “Introduction,” in Utopia/Dystopia: Conditions of Historical Possibility, ed. Michael D. Gordin, Helen Tilley, and Gyan Prakash (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 2, see also 1–6. 13. Cat video scholarship exists. See Jody Berland, “Cat and Mouse: Iconographics of Nature and Desire,” Cultural Studies 22 (3–4) (2008): 431–454. 14. Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989). 15. Nicholas John and Benjamin Peters, “Is the End Always Near? An Analysis and Comment on the End of Privacy, 1990–2012,” unpublished manuscript; Daniel J. Solove, “A Taxonomy of Privacy,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 154 (3) (2006): 477–560. 16. George L. Priest, “The Ambiguous Moral Foundations of the Underground Economy,” Faculty Scholarship Series, Paper 626 (1995), accessed April 15, 2015,

Studies in the Second Economy of Communist Countries: A Bibliography. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. Günther, Gotthard. “Cybernetics and Dialectical Materialism of Marx and Lenin.” In Computing in Russia: The History of Computer Devices and Information Technology Revealed. Edited by Georg Trogemann, Alexander Nitussov, and Wolfgang Ernst, 317–332. Braunschweig: Vieweg, 2001. Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989. Hafner, Katie, and Matthew Lyon. Where the Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. Halpern, Orit. “Dreams for Our Perceptual Present: Archives, Interfaces, and Networks in Cybernetics.” Configurations 13 (2007): 283–320. Haraway, Donna. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.”


Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman


Andrew Keen, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, Douglas Engelbart, East Village,, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, optical character recognition, profit motive, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Turing test, Works Progress Administration

See also Jody Greene, The Trouble with Ownership: Literary Property and Authorial Liability in England, 1660–1730 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005). 13. Gallagher, Nobody’s Story, 98. There is a longer history of printed punctuation of which these blanks are part; see, for example, Joan DeJean, The Reinvention of Obscenity: Sex, Lies, and Tabloids in Early Modern France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 34–35. 14. Classic accounts include Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans. Thomas Burger with Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge, MA: mit Press, 1989); Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London: Verso, 1991); James Carey, Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 13–36. 15. Edgar A. Poe, “The Purloined Letter,” in The Gift: A Christmas, New Year, and Birthday Present (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1845) 59, 49, 47.

Identification, Deception, and Surveillance in Early Modern Europe. Translated by Mark Kyburz and John Peck. New York: Zone, 2007. Guillory, John. “Genesis of the Media Concept.” Critical Inquiry 36, no. 2 (2010): 321–63. ———. “The Memo and Modernity.” Critical Inquiry 31, no. 1 (2004): 108–32. Guyer, Jane I. Marginal Gains: Monetary Transactions in Atlantic Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Translated by Thomas Burger with Frederick Lawrence. Cambridge, MA: mit Press, 1989. 194    WORKS CITED Hardt, Michael. “Affective Labor.” boundary 2 26, no. 2 (1999): 89–100. Hariman, Robert and John Louis Lucaites. No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.


pages: 398 words: 107,788

Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman


Benjamin Mako Hill, crowdsourcing, Debian, dumpster diving,, financial independence, ghettoisation, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jason Scott:, Jean Tirole, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Paul Graham, pirate software, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, software patent, software studies, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, web application, web of trust

Berkeley: University of California Press. Gusterson, Hugh. 1998. Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War. Berkeley: University of California Press. Habermas, Jürgen. 1981. The Theory of Communicative Action: Reason and the Rationalization of Society. London: Beacon Press. 1987. The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 1989. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hadley, Elaine. 2010. Living Liberalism: Practical Citizenship in Mid-Victorian Britain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Hakken, David. 1999. Cyborgs@Cyberspace? An Ethnographer Looks at the Future. London: Routledge. Hall, Jon “maddog.” 2000. My Life and Free Software. Linux Journal (June), 114–18. (accessed July 14, 2011).


pages: 290 words: 94,968

Writing on the Wall: Social Media - the First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage


Bill Duvall, British Empire, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, New Journalism, packet switching, place-making, Republic of Letters, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind

“D attacks on the corrup coffee to beer Rundfunk als achte Großmacht.” Signale der neuen Zeit. 25 ausgewählte Reden von Dr. Joseph Goebbels. Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 1938. Goodman, D. The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994. Gough, H. The Newspaper Press in the French Revolution. London: Routledge, 1988. Habermas, J. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989. Haines-Eitzen, K. Guardians of Letters: Literacy, Power and the Transmitters of Early Christian Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Hampton, K. N., L. F. Sessions, and E. J. Her. “Core Networks, Social Isolation, and New Media: How Internet and Mobile Phone Use is Related to Network Size and Diversity.”


pages: 565 words: 151,129

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin


3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation,, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, Zipcar

Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2001. Gupta, Shanti. The Economic Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, 1994. Haber, Samuel. Efficiency and Uplift: Scientific Management in the Progressive Era 1890–1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964. Habermas, Jurgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991. Haidt, Jonathan. The Happiness Hypothesis. New York: Basic Books, 2006. Hannesson, Rognvaldur. The Privatization of the Oceans. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004. Hart, Sura and Victoria Kindle Hodson. The Compassionate Classroom: Relationship Based Teaching and Learning. Encinitas, CA: Puddle Dancer Press, 2004. Havelock, Eric A.


pages: 475 words: 149,310

Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire by Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri


affirmative action, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, conceptual framework, David Graeber, Defenestration of Prague, deskilling, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, global village, Howard Rheingold, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, land reform, land tenure, late capitalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, private military company, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Richard Stallman, Slavoj Žižek, The Chicago School, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, transaction costs, union organizing, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus

Hegel read their work and transcribed it into his own idiom, powerfully transforming it, the same way Habermas, for example, transcribes “public opinion” into “public sphere.” 48 On Jürgen Habermas’s interpretation of Hegel’s concept of civil society as interaction, see “Arbeit und Interaktion: Bemerkungen zu Hegels Jenenser Philosophie des Geiste,” in Habermas, Technik und Wissenschaft als “Ideologie” (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1968). See also Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trans. Thomas Burger (Cambridge: Polity, 1989); and The Theory of Communicative Action, trans. Thomas McCarthy, 2 vols. (Boston: Beacon, 1984, 1987). On Habermas’s notion of the public sphere, see Craig Calhoun, ed., Habermas and the Public Sphere (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992). 49 See Niklas Luhmann, Essays on Self-Reference (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990); and The Reality of Mass Media, trans.


pages: 687 words: 189,243

A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy by Joel Mokyr


Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Copley Medal, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Deng Xiaoping, Edmond Halley, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, framing effect, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, hindsight bias, income inequality, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land tenure, law of one price, Menlo Park, moveable type in China, new economy, phenotype, price stability, principal–agent problem, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, the market place, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, ultimatum game, World Values Survey, Wunderkammern

Proceedings of the Twenty-Second Annual Congress of the European Economic Association. Journal of the European Economic Association, Vol. 6, No. 2/3, pp. 295–320. Gundersheimer, Werner L. 1966. The Life and Works of Louis Le Roy. Geneva: Librairie Droz. Haberman, Jacob. 2007. “Delmedigo, Joseph Solomon.” In Encyclopaedia Judaica, Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, eds., second ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference Vol. 5, pp. 543–44. Habermas, Jürgen. 1989. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hahn, Roger. 1986. “Laplace and the Mechanistic Universe.” In David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, eds., God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between Christianity and Science. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 256–76. ———. 1990. “The Age of Academies.” In Tore Frängsmyr, ed., Solomon’s House Revisited. Canton, MA: Science History Publications, pp. 3–12.