"Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere: Historical and Normative Perspectives"

Fri, Apr 26, 2019 (All day) to Sat, Apr 27, 2019 (All day)
Location: 
Marx Hall, Room 301

It has become a commonplace that we are living through a profound structural transformation of the public sphere.  More particularly, discussions have gone from one extreme – cyberutopian visions of the internet as a force for democratization -- to another extreme: now Facebook is said to have caused the return of fascism.  Two perspectives have mostly been lacking from these discussions: first, a historical one that allows us to see how new certain phenomena really are (one just needs to re-read Walter Lippmann to appreciate that there might not have been anything like a golden age of the public) and also to understand better how previous generations have come to terms with structural changes (including momentous shifts in what is seen as public and what is seen as private).  Second, we believe that we need a much clearer normative picture of the functions the public sphere really has for democracy, including a more profound philosophical comprehension of different “spaces” (physical and virtual) and how they can facilitate or hinder core democratic practices (such as assembly, deliberation, collective will-formation, etc.)

Email Kim Girman (kgirman@princeton.edu) for access to the papers.

Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere:

Historical and Normative Perspectives

(A Colloquium held under the Auspices of the Project in the History of Political Thought, 

University Center for Human Values)

Organizers: Erika A. Kiss and Jan-Werner Mueller

Marx Hall, Room 301

Friday, April 26:

9:00 am: Welcome

9:15 am: Technological Aspects of Changing Public Spheres
Jenifer Forrestal, Fadi Chehadé, Erika A. Kiss 

1:00 pm: Conditions for Democratic Deliberation Revisited
Andrew Guess, Joshua Cohen, Jay Rosen 

3:30 pm: Pathologies (and Affordances) of the Contemporary Public Sphere I
Dieter Thomae, Paolo Gerbaudo, Laszlo Rajk 

Saturday, April 27

9:30 am: Truth in the Public Sphere: Putting “Post-Truth”-Diagnoses and Other Tragic Narratives into Historical Perspective
Sophia Rosenfeld, David A. Bell, Matthew Pressman, Paul Starr,

1:00 pm: Pathologies (and Affordances) of the Contemporary Public Sphere II
Kim Lane Scheppele, Mabel Berezin, Miklos Haraszti

3:15 pm: Constitutive Choices and the Challenge of Silicon Valley Power
Tamsin Shaw, Nelson Tebbe, Christian von Borries 

Open to Princeton University Community: Faculty, Staff, Fellows & Students