Whither the Public Sphere:
Prospects for Cybersphere

Abstract

The civic-minded discussion and debate that occur in the public sphere have been underpinnings of democracy for 2,500 years. But in the last 150 years, since the dawn of the industrial age, the public sphere in America has withered. Some observers foresee a rebirth of the public sphere in cyberspace; i.e., a "cybersphere." They point to the Internet's unique interactive architecture and practically unbounded bandwidth. But judging by the unconscious atomization, commercialization and hegemonic effects of earlier mass media, the prospects for cybersphere are not good.

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