Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere
(Lanham: Lexington Books, January 2023)
Reading Habermas: Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere dissolves Habermas’s monolithic stylization to precisely access his seminal distinction between the purely political "polis" of antiquity, which excludes the private economy from the "res publica", and the modern public sphere with its rational-critical discourse about commodity exchange and social labor in the political economy. Deconstructing the uniform mold of Structural Transformation’s narrative about a rise and fall of the bourgeois public sphere in modernity also allows to identify and understand the ideology-critical methodologies of Habermas’s theory reconstruction of Kant’s ideal of the liberal public in the context of the French Revolution.
1. Structural Transformation’s Normative Theses about a Dissolution of Domination in the Bourgeois Public Sphere
2. Habermas’s Dialectical Use of Ideology Critique to Counterfactually Assert a Moment of Historical Credibility for the Bourgeois Ideal of the Public Sphere
3. Structural Transformation’s Cold War Origins: Habermas’s Defense of Kantian Rationality, Human Rights, and the Enlightenment
4. Participatory Democracy versus Political Manipulation: The Role of Habermas’s “Celebrated Coffee Houses” (Todd Gitlin) in the Modern Public Sphere
5. Understanding Habermas’s Public Sphere Concept by Dissolving its Monolithic Stylization: Structural Transformation’s Interpretation of a Sociological and Political Category with the Norms of Constitutional Theory and Intellectual History
6. Structural Transformation’s Tacit Model Case of the Bourgeois Public Sphere: The French Revolution, Kant’s “Unofficial” Philosophy of History, Condorcet Absolute Rationalism, and Schiller’s Expressive Subjectivism
7. The Achilles’ Heel of Schiller’s Moral Stage and Structural Transformation’s Moral Politics: A Dependency of Smith’s Political Economy and Kant’s Constitutional Law on Mandeville’s Moral Paradox of Bourgeois Society
8. Habermas’s Unexplained Methodology: A Complex “Ideology-Critical Procedure”
9. The Result of Structural Transformation’s Dialectical Use of Schmitt’s “Civil War Topos” and Koselleck’s “Process of Criticism:” A Tension between Developmental History and Ideology-Critical Procedure
Conclusion: Renewing the Human Rights Perspective in the Political Public Sphere
Michael Hofmann is Professor of Communication and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of "Habermas’s Public Sphere: A Critique" (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017). See a preview here.