The Media and the Public Sphere: A Deliberative Model of Democracy, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Media and the Public Sphere

A Deliberative Model of Democracy, 1st Edition

By Thomas Häussler


194 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-12-06
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At the heart of modern democracy lies the public sphere, which is most centrally shaped by those actors that integrate it discursively: the mass media. The media draw together the different strands of political debates; they grant access to some actors and arguments while excluding others and thus decisively mould the political process.

In this book, Thomas Häussler examines how the media reflect and react to the wider context in which they are embedded. More specifically, he focuses on whether their discourse demonstrates systematic differences with regard to the two main public sphere types that they co-constitute, according to deliberative theory, focussing in particular on the work of Jürgen Habermas.

The Media and the Public Sphere promotes a deeper and more detailed understanding of the political process by foregrounding the complex relationships between the media and the public discourse they constitute. It examines how the media co-create relationships of power, analyses the structure of these discursive networks and illuminates the effects that different deliberative coalition types have on political debates.


'In the deliberative model of democracy, a free press is of crucial importance for linking the public sphere and political decision making. Häussler shows in a sophisticated way the potential and the pitfalls for the media to fulfil this role. The philosophical background of the deliberative model is linked in a successful way with complex empirical analyses. The book is highly relevant for journalism, communication, and political science.'- Jürg Steiner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

'This very substantial and well researched book is an exceptionally valuable contribution to the growing body of empirical literature on deliberative democracy. It should find a wide readership in politics and media studies.' - William Outhwaite, FAcSS, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Newcastle University

'This important rethinking of the mediated public sphere shows that the range of actors and the qualities of their deliberation differ depending on whether we look at the sphere of civil society or the sphere of government-centered media discourses. Each sphere displays its own strengths and weaknesses, suggesting both the imperfections and the promises of democratic communication processes.' - Lance Bennett, Professor of Political Science and Communication, University of Washington

Table of Contents

Series Editors Foreword

1. Introduction

2. Democracy, Discourse and the Public Sphere: The Deliberative Approach

3. Methods and Measures of Deliberation

4. The Media and the Deliberative Quality of Public Spheres

5. Democratic Conflict and Deliberative Coalitions

6. Conclusion Appendix: Codebook

About the Author

Thomas Häussler is a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies, University of Bern. His research interests include political communication; online mobilisation and campaigning of civil society actors; social (online) network analysis; (Swiss) media history; and social and political philosophy – in particular, theoretical models of and empirical research on deliberative democracy. He teaches courses at bachelor’s and master’s levels on different aspects of political communication.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society

International communication encompasses everything from one-to-one cross-cultural interactions to the global reach of the internet. The Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society celebrates – and embraces – this depth and breadth. To completely understand communication, it must be studied in concert with many factors, since, most often, it is the foundational principle on which other subjects rest. This series provides a publishing space for scholarship in the expansive, yet intersecting, categories of communication and information processes and other disciplines.

Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society would like to publish work that educates readers about the complexities of international communication. We are especially interested in three areas: 1) research that focuses on empirical support for theoretical and conceptual development in communication and information processes, 2) research that is historically grounded and temporally expansive, and 3) research that is comparative and explores the world in both geopolitical and non-geopolitical categories. We welcome individual and co-authored manuscripts, as well as edited volumes.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Media & Internet