Full Text

Public Sphere, Fragmentation of

Frank Marcinkowski


The public sphere is defined as a network of all the communicative spaces within which public affairs are debated and a public opinion is formed (→  Public Sphere ; Public Opinion ). Such an infrastructure of political communication is crucial for democratic self-government and the social integration of modern society. Both functions seem to be threatened if the public sphere decays into a multitude of arenas that are just loosely connected (if at all) and do not form a coherent space for deliberation (→  Deliberativeness in Political Communication ; Political Discourse ). From a sociological point of view the fragmentation (i.e., stratification) of the public sphere seems to be the result either of social inequality ( Fraser 1992 ) or of individualization in the postmodern age ( Beck & Beck-Gernsheim 2002 ). In contrast, communication scholars refer to the media dominance over public communication of current societies. In this view the fragmentation of the mediated public sphere can then be described in at least three distinct dimensions: fragmentation of media channels, fragmentation of content, and fragmentation of audiences (see also Dahlgren 2005 ). The enormous growth and the differentiation of the national media systems are focused on in the first dimension. Instead of having only a few radio stations and print media of national importance, there is now a multitude ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top