Javnost - The Public, Vol. 20 - 2013, No. 1
When I think about the first issue of Javnost—The Public, it seems as it were yesterday when it was published. Yet, it was exactly twenty years ago when the founders of the European Institute for Communication and Culture decided to complement Euricom’s main activity – international yearly Colloquia on Communication and Culture (http://euricom.si/colloquia/) – with its own publication outlet. Ever since the first colloquium organised in 1987, Euricom colloquia gave an impetus to book projects; the proceedings of the colloquia have been regularly published in a book form or as special issues of scholarly journals. Eventually, these efforts resulted in the foundation of Javnost—The Public in 1994, to enable a more systematic and continuous publication of ideas discussed at the colloquia and beyond. With this issue, Javnost—The Public is entering its twentieth year of existence. The quarterly – the flagship of the Institute – was established in 1994 as an interdisciplinary journal in the social sciences providing a forum for those interested in problems of the public sphere on national, international, disciplinary and cross- or transdisciplinary levels. It aims to stimulate the development of theory and research in the field, and to help understand and bridge the differences between cultures of publicness. In the first years, the major part of each issue concentrated on a key theme, whereas the remainder of the issue was reserved for manuscripts centred on general topics covered by the journal. In more recent years, however, the editorial policy shifted from predefined (often guest-edited) issues towards a more flexible scheme, which is primarily a consequence of the increase in the number of quality papers submitted to the journal. With its third volume, the journal has joined the most prominent journals listed under the subject category “communication” in the Social Sciences Citation Index; in addition, it is included in more than 15 other international bibliographical indexes and abstract banks. Since 2008, Javnost—The Public is also available online at http://www.javnost-thepublic.org/. The Journal’s website receives almost 20,000 visits per year, half of them from Europe, followed by North America and Asia. During the 19 years since its foundation, the journal covered a number of resounding topics. In its early period, the journal was specifically aimed at bridging gaps between the Western and Eastern, post-communist scholarship. Later on, it developed into a more generalist scholarly journal covering a variety of different topical issues including the role of (media) communication in fostering human freedom and social change; public service broadcasting; media democratisation in East-Central Europe, South-East Asia and China; digitisation of broadcasting; new developments in journalism; the importance of communication for class relationships; public opinion and political representation; perspectives of small-scale media and community media; tabloidisation of the media; globalisation of media and media policies; popular culture as political communication; media (in) war and peace; democratic rhetoric and duty of liberation; transformations in the public sphere(s) and the development of a European public sphere; E-networks and democratic life; “forgotten communication scholars,” and many others. Although the primary objective of the journal is to contribute to intellectual understanding of transformations in the democratic process, it is also meant to contribute to improved political practice, policy, and civic engagement. A 2005 study of internationality of scholarly journals (Lauf 2005) based on articles published between 1998 and 2002 in communication journals covered by SSCI revealed that Javnost—The Public ranks second most “internationalised” journal in the field, following Discourse & Society. In contrast to the majority of international communication journals which are dominated by authors and editors from the English speaking countries, Javnost—The Public has a high percentage of non-U.S. editors (over 80 percent) but does not discriminate against the non-EU countries (scholars from Asia, Australia, the Arab world, Canada, and the U.S.A. are represented in the editorial board). According to the study, in the period 1998-2002, no more than 21 percent of contributors to Javnost—The Public were from the U.S. and 55 percent of authors were from English-speaking countries, and a “diversity score” (indicating the probability that two randomly selected authors come from different geographic areas) was .95. Each scholarly journal stands and falls not only with is contributors but also with its editorial board and reviewers. We are proud of many worldly scholars from all continents – Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Americas – who contributed to a continuous progress of the journal in terms of its quality and prestige. Regretfully, we cannot share the proud with two founding fathers of EURICOM and its journal Javnost—The Public, Mike Traber (1929-2006) and Hanno Hardt (1934-2011), but their outstanding merits for the journal will always be gratefully remembered. Slavko Splichal Editor
The mainstream is winning – again, now as “mainstream version 2.0.” Like word processors and spreadsheets that engineer more than revise, versions and varieties in communication studies extend but rarely revolutionise. Whether 1.x or 2.x, the differences are quibbles on substance and orientation. Communication studies as a field keeps its attentions to shifting technologies, reifies messages a nd audiences, and melts distinctions between communication and control on altars of effects studies and pedagogies. Once defined as a binary battleground – between administrative and critical research, quantitative and qualitative research, etc. – version 2.x takes a lesson from the other side to declare the mainstream an urban legend: multiplicities of coexistence have melted the old binaries if ever there were a basis for the mythology. This dismissal of the critique of the mainstream is remarkable both for its prematurity and its approach to the history of the field’s concepts and approaches to them.
The deliberative conception of the public sphere has proven popular in the critical evaluation of the democratic role of media and communication. However, the conception has come under sustained critique from poststructuralist- influenced theorists, amongst others, for failing to fully account for the exclusions that result from it being defined as a universal norm of public sphere deliberation. This paper examines how this critique may be answered. It does so first by exploring how (sophisticated) deliberative theory can reply to the critique, and second by turning to the poststructuralist-influenced critics – specifically post-Marxist discourse theorists – and asking how they might provide a way forward. With respect to the first, the paper finds that deliberative theory can, and often does, account for the exclusions in question much more than critics suggest, but that there remains concern about the conception’s radical democratic status given that exponents (seem to) derive it extra-politically. With respect to the second, the paper finds that a post-Marxist discourse theory reading – that embraces radical contingency – of the deliberative public sphere conception provides a purely political framework for theorising deliberative exclusion (and associated politics), and thus offers an ontological and democratic radicalisation of the public sphere conception. However, given the embrace of radical contingency, and thus acceptance of inelminable power, the paper concludes by indicating that this radicalisation may illicit concern about its radical democratic status.
This essay addresses recent misrepresentations of the study of political economy of the media. The discussion is grounded in some historical background, including a brief sketch of some of the history of critical communications research in the US, which flourished within the global profusion of critical research in the 1960s and 1970s. Part of this history is the emergence of organisational support for critical scholarship as well as the long-term employment of individual scholars by specific universities that made critical classes part of both graduate and undergraduate curricula. That process of institutionalisation provided the basis for the next generations of critical scholars from the 1980s through the present – generations whose research address a broad range of communications phenomena, use a wide range of research methods, and draw from a wide array of critical theories. This overview sets the stage for a critique of the current attack on radical political economy specifically. That attack is considered in terms of two key texts that caricature political economic research as an enterprise dependent on theories imported from the Frankfurt School, limited to a macroscopic approach, only interested in journalism, and ignoring both media workers and media audiences.
This article reviews multi-disciplinary body of research to develop a model of how technology impacts communication processes at various stages. The model, which includes psychological and technological factors, is argued to represent a more useful framework for political communication- effects theory building than frameworks offered by either social constructivist or technological determinism perspectives. The article also argues for a greater inclusion of technology into existing political communication theorising. Several future research directions further developing this argument are described.
The uses of the popular microblogging service Twitter for political purposes have been discussed by scholars and political pundits alike. While suggestions have been made that the conversational aspects of the microblog could serve to instigate online deliberation between equals, rather few studies have investigated such claims empirically. This paper presents such an empirical study, based on a large-scale data set of tweets concerning the 2011 Danish parliamentary election. By combining state-of-the-art data collection and analysis techniques with theoretically informed matters for discussion, we provide an assessment of political Twitter activity among high-end users of the microblog during a one-month period leading up to the election. Identifying a series of user types, findings indicate that while the bulk of the studied activity bares characteristics of a representative public sphere, traces of a participatory public sphere were also discerned.
Transformation of Newspapers’ Thematic Structure in the 20th Century: A Comparative Analysis of Estonia, Finland and Russia
This article focuses on the thematic structure and contextualisation of the future in the main daily newspapers of the three neighbouring countries of Finland, Estonia and Russia throughout the 20th century. We mapped the content of 2079 Finnish, 2242 Estonian and 1723 Russian daily newspaper articles. The Finnish Helsingin Sanomat concentrated on the issue of “state and legislation”; the second most common topic in the Finnish sample was economics, at about 20 percent of the articles, with the exception of the 1910s and 1930s. In Estonia we did not find any dominant topic during the 20th century; there were many different topics related to the agenda. Politics and governance and related issues were particularly dominant during the periods of independence. Economy-related issues were more or less dominant during the period of Soviet occupation. The topics of economics and human relations and values were dominant in the Russian Pravda throughout the 20th century. The analysis reveals that Finnish media were more diverse than Estonian and Russian, which displayed a lack of diversity especially during the Communist period.