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

Dissonant and Disconnected Public Spheres as Challenge for Political Communication Research

, pages: 59-65

Diversity of opinion can be understood as a fundamental condition of public debate in politics and civil society. It always has been a typical feature of pluralist societies. However, as we witness ever-more-fiercely negative campaigns, increasing political polarisation, and public debates filled with prejudices and false assumptions, dissonance and disconnection have evolved as characteristic features of contemporary mediatised public spheres. In this article, it is argued that the Internet is a driver of this development. Therefore, analysis of political communications demands an analytical shift—from the study of consonance to the study of dissonance, and from the study of connections to the study of disconnections and their consequences for democracy. Scholars should investigate online and offline dissonant public spheres and ask how they relate to inclusion demands and counterpublics and when they eventually shift into populism.

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