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

Standpoint, Mediation and the Working-Class Public Sphere

, pages: 51-58

Habermasian public sphere theory has been challenged widely and persistently on the basis of its rationalist universalism, which brackets off material concerns in the process of deliberation for an ostensibly common good. Against a relativist tendency in these critiques, I argue here for an alternative, materialist model of radically democratic counterpublicity as a standard for the adjudication of a public’s fidelity to the interests of those it hails. To this end, I draw from Negt and Kluge’s description of proletarian public spheres and Lukács’ theory of mediation to theorise, describe, explain and intervene as political actors in working-class public spheres. We must retain the ability to fathom a concept of publicness tied to a socialist, anti-capitalist political project.

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