Społeczeństwo obywatelskie a sfera publiczna

  • Craig Calhoun New York University
Słowa kluczowe: sfera publiczna; społeczeństwo obywatelskie; komunikacja społeczna; demokracja; debata publiczna


The author tries to prove the thesis that the conception of public sphere is a factor that decides the future of democracy. It has connected civil society and the state with the principle saying that social communication is able to inform the legislators and state administration about how they should serve the interests of all the citizens. While civil society reflects the struggle that tries to reconcile individual profits with building an ethical community, public sphere plays the key role in finding new areas of common good and in working out both social and individual strategies in order to achieve it. An ideal project of public sphere assumes that all its participants express their opinions as equals; however, reality shows that inequality and domination still distort social communication.

An open and dynamic public sphere is the dimension of civil society that is the most important one for democracy, as it helps build the demos in the literal sense of the word – as a community that is able to create its own future. Public sphere functions owing to communication; it connects cultural creativity, selective and consolidated traditions, and a well thought out debate; and all this in order to give information to the citizens participating in it and to influence the state and other institutions.