Beyond the Public Sphere. Opinions, Publics, Spaces in Early Modern Europe (Review)

Mansfield, Andrew. 2014. Beyond the Public Sphere. Opinions, Publics, Spaces in Early Modern Europe (Review). Renaissance Studies, 28(3), pp. 483-485. ISSN 0269-1213 [Article]

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Beyond the Public Sphere is a collection of fourteen essays that have originated from two colloquia: a workshop entitled ‘Public Sphere and Public Opinion: Historical Paradigms?’ held in 2008 and a 2010 international conference in Trento, ‘Beyond the Public Sphere’. The collection delineates current thought on the public sphere debate while evaluating the continued relevance of Jürgen Habermas's seminal text Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit (1962) to modern conceptions. For Habermas, the bourgeois public sphere allowed private men to discourse, debate and thereby regulate the general rules of society particularly those governing the ‘publicly relevant sphere of commodity exchange and social labour’, (Section 2, Chapter 4). In his introduction to Beyond the Public Sphere, Massimo Rospocher states that despite recent vociferous attacks on Habermas's highly influential model of the public sphere the work still has much value, especially for the early modern historian. Moreover, his ideas retain a wider significance due to the ‘persistence and cyclical return to Habermas's theory today’ (24) within a global community shaped by communication technologies. A central aspiration of the collection is to expose a paradigmatic shift presently occurring through 'historiographical transition' (27), moving beyond Habermas's deficiencies on the public sphere to create new interpretations.

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Massimo Rospocher (ed.), Beyond the Public Sphere: Opinions, Publics, Spaces in Early Modern Europe. Annali dell'Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento/Jahrbuch des italienisch-deutschen historischen Instituts in Trient 27. Bologna and Berlin: Società editrice il Mulino and Duncker & Humblot, 2012. 303 pp. €30.00. ISBN: 978-8815240286 (pb).

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15 Jul 2015 10:47

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20 Jan 2016 10:54

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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