The public sphere is understood as a realm of our social life where public opinion can be formed (Habermas 1964) and this MA-level seminar explores how hashtag activism is shaping the public sphere and political participation. Has the proliferation of the digital opened up democratic spaces or is the idea of public sphere still fraught with questions of access, algorithmic bias, state and corporate control, censorship, and unequal power relations? Some examples of hashtag activism to be explored in this class include movements such as #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, #GandhiMustFall and #FridaysForFuture. Students are encouraged to suggest hashtag-powered-movements emerging from different parts of the world that they would like to examine as part of this seminar (email me your suggestion at least two weeks before our first session so that I can incorporate it in the syllabus). Please read the texts indicated below before the first day of class. First session will be on 16.04.2020:
- Fraser, Nancy (1990). Rethinking the Public Sphere
- Fuchs, Christian (2014). Social Media and the Public Sphere
- Habermas, Jurgen (1989). The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Cambridge: Polity Press.
- Peters, Benjamin (2016). Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture. Princeton: Princeton UP.