Discourse and Democracy   /   Fall 2004   /    Articles

Marketing Public Discourse

Karlyn Kohrs Campbell

In 1962 the premier student of discourse and democracy, Jürgen Habermas, published his path-breaking work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. There he wrote of the dangers posed by the “economic concentration and technological-organizational coordination” of the “new media of the twentieth century.” He warned of the impact of the increasing role of advertising and public relations on public deliberation, and linked the apathy, alienation, and increasingly low rates of participation by citizens in democracies to “the structural and functional transformation of the public sphere itself.

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