1st Edition

Transnational Public Spheres Asian and Western Perspectives on Civic Spaces and Infrastructures Beyond the Nation-State

By Mohammadbagher Forough Copyright 2025
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers the first systematic theorisation of transnational public spheres from  non-Western, spatial, and infrastructural perspectives. 

    The current era is characterised by transnational challenges, such as climate change, pandemics, and financial crises, that cannot be adequately addressed by national public spheres. Public spheres, defined as arenas of collective communication and action, are the cornerstone of any people-centred system of governance. This book puts forward a transnational public sphere theory and focuses on spatial, infrastructural and non-Western perspectives, thus adding to public sphere theory and practice at both national and transnational levels. The author offers a new conceptual construct, 'the right to space', as a way of transnationalising the theory and addressing its efficacy issues. Providing conceptual clarity on the public-private distinction, this book examines the historical roots of the public sphere in both Asia and Europe, establishes the methodological and ontological foundations for a theory of transnational publics, and analyses contemporary empirical instances of transnational publics in both Asia and the West. This transnationalisation is crucial now that authoritarianism is on the rise and democracy is in decline worldwide. 

    A timely addition to the literature, this book will be of interest to researchers in International Relations, Political Science, Political Theory, Sociology, Media and Communication, Cultural and Literary Studies, and Asian Studies.

    Introduction: Why Transnationalise the Public Sphere Theory Part I: Conceptual, Methodological, and Ontological Approaches Chapter 1. Revisiting The Public-Private Distinction; Chapter 2. Theory, Methodology, and Ontology Part II: Asian and Western Histories of Public Sphere and Statehood Chapter 3. Western Histories of Statehood and Public Spheres; Chapter 4. Asian States and Public Spheres: The Case of China; Chapter 5. Asian States and Public Spheres: South and West Asia Part III: Moving Towards a Theory of Transnational Publics Chapter 6. Contemporary Instances of Transnational Public Spheres; Chapter 7. Theorising Transnational Public Spheres; Chapter 8. The Right to Space: From Militating to Litigating; Conclusion: The Way Forward; Index


    Mohammadbagher Forough is Assistant Professor of Global History and International Relations at Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Concurrently, he holds research affiliations with the German Institute for Global and Area Studies in Hamburg, Germany as well as with the Clingendael Institute in The Hague. His diverse research interests encompass global history, critical geography and geopolitics, China-Middle East relations, Middle Eastern and Iranian affairs, global geoeconomics (including the Belt and Road Initiative), the development-security nexus, infrastructure, technology, and cybersecurity.