The structural transformation of the public sphere
In this book, Jürgen Habermas has articulated how the public sphere has been going through the various changes in the modern era. The growth and decline of the public sphere has been explained while considering the social, political, economic, cultural and philosophical interactions. Bourgeois has been the major public sphere that has been illustrated in the book from its origin in ancient times. The development of this public sphere has been associated with interactions with the private sphere. When the author mentions about mutual infiltrations he refers to the interconnectivity and integration between the public and the private spheres that has resulted in the current transformations. For instance he indicates that the public sphere was formed as a result of a few private individuals coming together perhaps for a common purpose. This means that the public sphere is made up of elements of the private. It is indeed the private individuals who now claim to be representing the opinions of the public. He views the public sphere to have undergone transformations from the family which happens to be a private institution in the society.
Essentially the author has underscored how the society spheres began to involve in each other. The individuals in the private sphere collapsed into their own self hence there is no public as often misrepresented in politics of the modern times. Habermas mentions that there is an attempt to create an image of public where none exists. This is because of the fact that the very people who made up the public reverted to their own selfishness. Mutual infiltrations are problematic according to the author because it has led to the current confusion as witnessed by the political environment in the modern era. The people who claim to be representing the public are still the ones that are in the private hence their intentions are questionable.
Habermas points out the effect of the mass media in the whole private and public spheres interaction. The media is involved in the manipulation of the public sphere. Through aspects such as advertising there has been a misrepresentation of the public. The politicians and large organizations are making use of advertising to confuse people and they are not what they claim to be in the advertisement. By making use of their power and money, individuals in the private sector have control over the media and they manipulate issues through advertising to make sure that they turn to their favor. That is the reason why the author has looked at them in terms of neo-feudalism in the current era. The politicians have the power to use the media through advertising to manipulate public opinion and win the majority votes from the people.
Publicity in the modern times has also been an issue to concern to the author. There is an assertion that those in power or those in the private have gained publicity thanks to the control they have over the media components. The relationship between publicity and public sphere is that of trust and confidence. This is in light of the fact that the public tends to believe so much in publicity that their opinion is influenced by what publicity presents in the media. Individuals or organizations that receive most of the publicity in the mass media end up winning the confidence of the public. However there is an argument that publicity at times is misleading and cannot be relied upon for sound judgment by the public sphere.
Publicity has resulted in the alteration of the public opinion. The eventual consequence is that the voters tend to vote-in the wrong people simply because of the cheap publicity that is created by the media through advertising.