The Public Sphere (IV)

The public sphere should be the centre of rational debate, but it has become a spectacle for a stultified populace. How did it come to this and what is to be done? Our guiding thread will be Jürgen Habermas’s The structural transformation of the public sphere. To examine the troubles of the public we need…

The Public Sphere (III)

I. The pub(lic sphere) Imagine for a moment a small pub on a Friday evening. A group of friends sit around a table sharing stories of their busy work week, chuckling and smiling while sipping on their well-deserved beers. Meanwhile, a muted television screen broadcasting a local news channel hangs above the group of friends…

The Public Sphere (II)

Introduction My aim in this paper is to present an approach to understanding the ‘public sphere’ and its role in contemporary politics. I will proceed by first offering a generalized ideal before going on to apply this conception to concrete historical situations. In the process, specific aspects of the public sphere will come to light…

The Public Sphere (I)

Recently, I asked some people in their twenties what the public sphere is. Uniformly, they shrugged, said something vague about freedom and politics and then, in some cases, looked for an answer on their iPhones. Several asked me, “Why should I care?” This paper gives a response to their question. I will answer their initial…

Announcement: Welcome to the public sphere

After a few months of writing and publishing articles, we should ask ourselves a simple question: what are we doing? What is the point of printing a magazine and maintaining this website? Multiple studies tell us that such a public sphere is in decline. There is no audience for this endeavour. Students want to party,…

De Syrische tragedie en het Europese geweten

Stel, je bent afkomstig uit Syrië en studeert al vijf jaar geneeskunde aan de KU Leuven. Vanuit Leuven zag je de oorlog aan je moeders voordeur in Saraqeb in het noorden van Syrië belanden. Sinds je in juli 2012 zelf het vluchtelingenstatuut kreeg, probeer je haar naar België te halen. De Belgische autoriteiten vertelden je…