The Habermasian Public Sphere and Exclusion [pdf]
by Lincoln Dahlberg
One trenchant critique of the Habermasian public sphere conception, voiced particularly strongly by poststructuralist-influenced critics, is that it fails to fully account for exclusion. In this article I examine the strength of this critique. I begin by demonstrating how Habermasians have in many ways already theorized public sphere exclusion. Given this, I ask what is left of the poststructuralist-inspired critique. I argue that what is left is a deep disagreement with Habermasians about the grounding of the public sphere conception. I subsequently ask what difference, and moreover what positive contribution, a poststructuralist (rather than a Habermasian) grounding can make for understanding public sphere exclusion and associated politics.
Lincoln Dahlberg is Visiting Fellow at the Center for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland. He is co-editor (with Sean Phelan) of "Discourse Theory and Critical Media Politics" (Palgrave, 2011).
See also Dahlberg's paper "Exclusions of the Public Sphere Conception" (2013).