On public deliberation and public culture

Peters, Bernhard

; Institut für Interkulturelle und Internatione Studien (INIIS), Universität Bremen


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URL http://edoc.vifapol.de/opus/volltexte/2008/479/
Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: INIIS Uni Bremen
Schriftenreihe: InIIS-Arbeitspapier
Bandnummer: 7
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 1997
Publikationsdatum: 16.08.2008
Originalveröffentlichung: http://www.iniis.uni-bremen.de/pages/arbeitspapierBeschreibung.php?ID=6&SPRACHE=DE (1997)
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
BK - Basisklassifikation: 05.32 (), 89.56 (Politische Kommunikation)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.6 Politik und Friedensforschung

Kurzfassung auf Deutsch:

In 1955 appeared one of the path-breaking studies on public communication: "Personal Influence: The Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communication", by Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld. In his foreword, Elmo Roper gave an interesting, though somewhat silly description of the American public. In Roper"s picture, the public can be stratified in six groups, whose relationships he describes as six concentric circles. In the center are the "Great Thinkers", who have developed important theories or philosophies. Around them is a somewhat larger circle of "Great Disciples", who work out or advocate those theories or philosophies. Next are - in increasing sizes - the circles of "Great Disseminators", reaching larger publics, and of "Lesser Disseminators", with somewhat smaller audiences. Then come the "Participating Citizens" and finally the "Politically Inert". Roper adds that these groups "are not mutually exclusive. A Great Disseminator in one field may be Politically Inert in another..." (Roper 1955, xv-xviii). What is wrong with this picture, or what is missing? Some questions and objections come to mind: What are the "philosophies" or "theories" which are produced and disseminated in this way? Is the production and dissemination of these ideas only a matter of personal influence? What are the circumstances of invention or production of ideas, what are the communication channels in which they are disseminated? Is personal creativity and influence distributed in such a simple hierarchical structure? The "great thinkers" model of cultural development has certainly long gone out of fashion. But what can be put into its place? This paper tries to put these questions more precisely and to provide some answers. For "ideas" or "philosophies and theories", I am going to put "public culture". For the model of concentric or hierarchical production and dissemination of ideas, I will put a model of the sphere of public deliberation (or the "public sphere", in Habermas" terms) with a much more complex structure.

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