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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 9 - 2002, No. 3

, pages: 5-26

Theories of democracy consider communicative interaction among citizens central. In recent years the idea of deliberative democracy has galvanised elements of political theory with perspectives on communication. This concept emerges to a large extent from the Habermasian trajectory and links currents from theories of civil society and citizenship. It has thus a rather forceful normative dimension. However, there are difficulties; and the aim of the article is to probe the notion of deliberative democracy by framing it in ways that may render it more useful for both theoretical and empirical work. The article begins with a quick interpretation of the theoretical background. From there the author discusses some current issues of conceptualisation, in particular if such talk should be seen as a part of everyday conversation or a special mode of interaction. These definitional issues set the stage for an examination of two recent empirical contributions. In the final section, the article attempts to situate deliberative democracy within an analytic framework of civic culture. Deliberative democracy, or more simply, discussion, becomes one of six dimensions of civic culture.

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, pages: 27-48

The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of the forthcoming multimedia convergence on communications regulation in Europe and to propose an appropriate regulatory framework in the digital universe. It is divided in three parts. The first part attempts to identify the term “convergence” and explores the challenges that it poses to European policy makers. Part two assesses the extent to which traditional communications regulation models are applicable across digital communication outlets in the age of the converging value chain as well as the balance between competition law and sector-specific regulation to be adopted. In particular, it explores the importance of competition regulation and sector-specific media ownership and content restrictions and assesses whether they continue to occupy an important place in the new era. The third part puts forward proposals for introducing fresh rules to maximise the benefits of the digital convergence in terms of growth of industry and consumer access and choice.

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, pages: 49-64

stability of political structures cannot be assumed. It argues that the dominant thrust of political communication research is to emphasise the synchronic dimension in political culture at the expense of the diachronic. This makes it more difficult to discern the role played by political actors who can achieve control over the shaping and parsing of the reservoir of stored meaning that is embedded in cultural memory. The diachronic dimension in political communication can be examined most clearly at those “sites of memory” where the slow formation of ideology, consensus and collective identity takes place. These reflections on the relationship between time, memory and the exercise of political power are worked out in a case study of contemporary Ireland, where moves in the late 1990s to end the conflict in Northern Ireland have yielded political structures that are still quite unstable, where the past surges into the present in scenarios quite unlike what is often described as the flattening of time and memory assumed to be at the heart of late modernity.

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, pages: 65-82

This article examines citizenspeak, or the discourses available to citizens talking about politics. The paper is based on 81 interviews with voters in Bristol, England, during the 2001 British national elections. The paper finds that citizens have a narrow range of discourses to draw on. The dominant type of citizenspeak is that of immobilising discourses, expressing disenchantment with the political process. The second category is that of oppositional discourse, capturing a view of politics as the bastion of elites out to exploit the working classes. Thirdly, the paper discusses cynical chic discourses. The voters who engage in these discourses take pleasure in their superior knowledge of the political process, which allows them to creatively poke fun of it. Fourth, discourses of duty emphasised the importance of voting, despite the shortcomings of representative democracy. Finally, some citizens mastered discourses of relevance: They could speak with engagement about events touching on their own lives. And it is in these discourses that we may find hopes for the revival of citizenship. The paper suggests that to solve the problems of disengagement, we must provide contexts in which it is acceptable to be interested in politics. This, in turn, entails broadening our definition of the political.

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, pages: 83-106

The principle of publicity was originally conceived as a critical impulse against injustice based on secrecy of state actions and as an enlightening momentum substantiating the “region of human liberty,” making private citizens equal in the public use of reason. Early debates on freedom of the press pointed toward the idea of publicity as an extension of individuals’ freedom of thought and expression. With the constitutional guarantee for a free press in parliamentary democracies, discussions of freedom of the press were largely reduced to the pursuit of freedom by the media, thus neglecting the idea of publicity as the basis of democratic citizenship. The concepts of public service media and, to a lesser extent, the model of social responsibility of the press attempted at recuperating the latter dimension of publicity, but with very limited success. The discrimination in favour of the power/control function of the press clearly abstracted freedom of the press from the Kantian quest for the public use of reason. In democratic societies where the people rather then different estates legitimise all the powers, the control dimension of publicity embodied in the corporate freedom of the press should be effectively supplemented by actions toward equalising private citizens in the public use of reason.

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, pages: 107-109

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