Dossier Arts

Debate, Democracy and the Public Sphere

by Lucie Campos , 8 January 2013

In our second winter selection of reviews and essays, Books & Ideas takes a look back at a few important articles published over the last year on the current developments and trends affecting public spaces for expression and debate : from the traditional media to the world wide web, these different spaces are all under pressure from ongoing changes. Rules and practices are evolving, as the traditional public space is being radically enlarged.

In The Internet and its Democratic Virtues, Books & Ideas, 8 November 2012, Dominique Cardon describes six democratic virtues of the internet in its current state : a presumed equality, liberated subjectivities, a bottom-up connection between public and online content, the strength of weak cooperation, self-organization and ex-post legitimacy.

In the video interview Open Data as a Key to Citizen Empowerment, Books & Ideas, 20 January 2012, the same Dominique Cardon analyses the Open Data movement, its key values, and its role in defining the conditions of accountability towards voters and citizens for governments and institutions.

In The Media Revolution and Public Debate, Books & Ideas, 3 January 2012, Charles Girard examines the renewal of professional journalism and its impact on democratic debate, reassessing the political and democratic role of the press in the context of the decline of traditional newspapers and of the emergence of new media and new practices.

In Egyptian Journalists and Power, Books & Ideas, 12 January 2012, Enrique Klaus draws up a long history of connection between the Egyptian press and power since the 1952 revolution, providing a counter-example for connections sometimes made too easily between press and democracy, and questions the possibility for more recent models of journalism and expression to find a voice under the new regime.

Lastly, in « Hacker » Journalism - A new utopia for the press ?, Books & Ideas, 14 October 2011, Sylvain Parasie examines the role of the online press and of a new generation of « hacker » journalists in finding new ways of positioning journalism in relation both to authorities and to the public.

by Lucie Campos, 8 January 2013

To quote this article :

Lucie Campos, « Debate, Democracy and the Public Sphere », Books and Ideas , 8 January 2013. ISSN : 2105-3030. URL :

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