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The Liquefaction of Publicness: Communication, Democracy and the Public Sphere in the Internet Age, Vol. 25 - 2018, No. 1

Family Feud: Who’s Still Fighting about Dewey and Lippmann?

, pages: 75-82

The usual narrative of the John Dewey–Walter Lippmann debate has been disputed by Michael Schudson and Sue Curry Jansen, who claim the debate and Lippmann’s portrayal as an elitist and anti-democratic were fabricated by James Carey. Others, however, made similar claims about Lippmann, including Schudson. Dewey had long before the 1922–1927 period in question laid out his philosophy of democracy and the public, and the two had other public disagreements that continued after Dewey’s death. Lippmann came to claim that natural law (in contrast to Dewey’s pragmatism) provides the best grounds for maintaining social order, the public needed only for consent to be governed. The Jansen–Schudson feud with Carey exposes the epistemological grounds for political differences about the public.

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