RE: give it to them, too

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Feb 18 2002 - 13:06:54 GMT

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: give it to them, too
    Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 13:06:54 -0000
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            <The more people who know more, the better, and I believe there are
    > business models that support this. It's called open-book management, I
    > think.>
            Habermas' point, put very crudely, is that this enlightenment goal
    of open dissemination of views/ideas etc. is not what in fact has occured
    through the course of the development of capitalist, mass democracy. The
    evidence for this is extensive, based primarily upon the machinery of news
    management used by governments, and the economic control of 'mass media by
    states and the private sector, to the point where citizens' are
    disenfranchised from the information flows that dominate our lives.
    Habermas calls it the refeudalisation of the public sphere.

            Some critics say one problem with the model is that there has never
    been a really existing version of Habermas' ideal public sphere (a space
    where all have access to information, and the capacity to contribute to
    rational debate) as even his idealised enlightenment period was exclusionary
    (particularly to women and the working classes). Nonetheless he does argue
    quite well that contemporary society is fundamentally distinct, due to the
    predominance of the mass media becoming the primary means of information
    dissemination, and the mass media are, structurally, far removed from
    ordinary citizens.

            Even if you want to give people particular information, it is very
    difficult within the constraints of the structures of ownership and control
    of mass media. This is one of the reasons there's been so much hype about
    the internet, precisely because it, in its early days, subverts those
    structures of ownership and control.


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