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Submitted in December 1999 for the course, Public Space,
at the University of Pennsylvania.  (This paper is approximately 30 pages.) 

"Why and How Has 'Habermas' Become a Household Word in the Social Sciences?"

by Eric Miller

Jürgen Habermas is one of the most referred to, most famous, most prominent social scientists of the day.  This paper explores the questions of why and how Jürgen Habermas has risen to this exalted state.  To answer these questions, the paper takes three steps: first, the paper attempts to supply some answers to the general question of how and why individuals, especially cultural leaders -- intellectuals, artists, scholars, writers -- become well-known; second, some data is presented testifying to Habermas's prominence; and finally, the paper supplies some answers to the questions of why and how Jürgen Habermas in particular has become prominent. 

As the reader will have noticed, the title of the paper refers to Habermas's name as being a household word within a section of academia.  A household word is something that is indispensable to homelife, an intimate part of everyday life.  It is always on the tip of one's tongue and easily accessible to one's conscious mind.  Household words refer to things that, like appliances, are kept within easy reach and are often useful for many purposes.  To use his name to represent his ideas, to refer to his name as a household item, and to speak of a section of academia as a home are all folksy, teasing, and playful transgressions of the sharp distinction between the private (the realm of the home, the intimate, the emotional) and the public (the realm of the rational) that Habermas has insisted upon.  For this, my apologies to Dr. Habermas! 

I.  Theories of Prominence

What, then, are some theories of prominence?  In Scientific Elite:Nobel Laureates in the United States,Harriet Zuckerman makes a strong case for the phenomena of "cumulative advantage."1  This is a process by which "advantages in...occupational spheres accumulate when certain individuals or groups repeatedly receive resources and rewards that enrich the recipients at an accelerating rate and conversely impoverish (relatively) the non-recipients."2   Achievers of scientific prominence typically go though the following stages (not necessarily in this order): ideally one is born into an intellectual and/or professional family, shows early promise, and "through a series of interlocking selective processes, becomes affiliated with elite universities and research institutes."3  The achiever gains sponsorships and patrons, acquires an identity, gets noticed, and develops a growing reputation.  "The careers of prospective laureates are marked by early and copious production of published work."4 

Statistically-speaking, an early start is all-important:  "The most striking fact in the process of self-selection is that future members of the ultra-elite were clearly tuned into the scientific network early in their careers"5: they were exposed at an early stage to the major channels of communication about new developments in their fields.  Once one is in the in-crowd, one can benefit from "informal word-of-mouth communication about who is doing what."6 

At each successive step, "One must be ordained by a governing body."7  This is often necessary in order to study with a member of the elite.  Training by the elite is a scarce commodity, and for a combination of social and intellectual reasons, it often pays off.  Over half of Nobel laureates have studied under Nobel laureates.  Cumulative advantage is a process of sociological inbreeding, an associative process.  As one scientist put it, "I never argue with third-rate scientists, only with the first-rate."8 

One way that cumulative advantage works is that once a person is rewarded in some way, that reward can often lead to increased access to resources, and "recipients of resources are more likely to achieve."9   Most important for the accumulation of advantage is new facilities and opportunities for work.  These new opportunities may come in the forms of ability to publish; access to first-rate research facilities, students and colleagues; and free time.  Once in place, a scholar finds it relatively easy to advance his/her research interests, as he/she is now in a gate-keeping position (as editors, panelists on boards that give awards, etc.), and are able to influence how resources are to be allocated, and to whom. 

Training with the elite is generally not a matter of learning facts, but of learning "styles of thinking."10  "The most important event in the life of a young scientist is personal contact with the great scientists of his time...  I learned that the scientist must have the courage to attack the great unsolved problems of his time, and that solutions usually have to be forced by carrying out innumerable experiments without much critical hesitation."11  "Looking back on their apprenticeships, the laureates typically emphasize that they were able to acquire a better sense of the significant problem."12  Masters "had a knack for finding what was important to look into."13  "Among the elite scientists, the prime criteria of scientific taste are a sense for the 'important problem' and an appreciation of stylish solutions.  For them, the ability to identify these things distinguishes excellent science from the merely competent or commonplace."14  Largely through observation, students acquire this sense of intellectual taste. 

The process described above can be seen in part as one of social control.  In The Celebration of Heroes: Prestige as a Social Control System,William Goode explains how "individuals and groups give and withhold prestige and approval as a way of rewarding or punishing others."15  "Prestige patterns of reward and punishment can induce at least behavioral conformity and perhaps attitudinal change as well."16  "We are most likely to act in a certain way if the schedule of rewards seems a good risk.  It would be irrational to do otherwise."17  "Social action is mostly set into motion by values and norms, attitudes and evaluations, since these things express or describe what people feel is worth doing; and, wherever these evaluations may come from ultimately, each individual acquires them in a continuing process of socialization and social control."18  Certain work is recognized and rewarded, while other work is ignored: these patterns are quite easy to discern. 

One problem with this model, however, is that it does not account for how the radically new is introduced.  One theory involving the introduction of the new is supplied by public relations specialists.  From this perspective, to gain prominence one must "interrupt the continuity of life in some way, to bring about the media response."19  "News is any overt act which juts out of the routine of normal circumstance."20 

According to the public relations creed, in developing a public persona, "No organization can afford to let the climate of attitudes develop by accident or through outside forces.  It must work to create its own climate."  One must engage in image-management.  "Reputations are perceived and disseminated through images."21  One must develop an image: through "concept-generation," an aspirant selects or invents a unique combination of factors that will distinguish him/her from the rest.  "Figures stand for something.  Often the figure is cast as the incarnation of a single attribute... represented by a single word or phrase."22  A public relations counsel helps one to find a concept and image that will appeal to the target audience, and then to choose appropriate signs to convey one's type to that audience.  "During breakout, a rising celebrity needs to take the initiative, set the agenda."23  But public relations work is not all about establishing one's uniqueness: one also needs to establish legitimacy and, as mentioned above, one way to do this is to connect oneself to past heroic genealogies and/or gain institutional affiliation, as there is a glow or aura around prestigious institutions. 

The advancement process is indeed rarely entirely left to chance: many literary careers display "marks of consciously coordinated efforts to manufacture a reputation among interested parties in publishing, book reviewing, academic criticism, literary and critical movements, and the mass media."24 

Generally-speaking, literary reputations radiate through smaller circles to the  public at large.  Every person and institution is a potential 'radiator' and 'mediator' in and through which images and information emerge and get   passed on.  Typically, however, judgments of influential critic-reviewers shape  the outlines of an author's image.  Groups and mass media in turn distribute a version of that image, thereby helping to expand a critical reputation into a  public one.25
This process has been called the "cultural apparatus."26   David Hume and many other 17th and 18th century Western scholars have approved of it: they thought it best for "joint verdicts" of an elite group of "true judges" to decide artistic merit.27 

A person seeking advancement must perhaps strike a balance between following in great (that is, safe) footsteps and doing something new and unique.  However, to get real for a moment: great work and the prominence that comes with it often derive from an internal calling that has nothing to do with trying to fit in or trying to be unique, or with currying favor with gatekeepers.  People do become prominent because they had a vision of something that needed to be done, and they were able to do it.  All the precedents and institutions of establishments can be overthrown, and many of humanity's greatest leaders, inventors, etc., have done precisely that. 

Arthur Schopenhauer pessimistically presents what might be referred to as the lone-wolf theory of prominence: that the great person can expect primarily to be attacked and scorned by the mediocre and jealous people all around him/her.  "Men of great genius...stand in all ages like isolated heroes, keeping up single-handed a desperate struggling against an array of opponents."28  The consolation comes in a feeling of communion with similar (although mostly unknown) figures and with those who will one day appreciate him/her: "He who produces some really great thought is conscious of his connection with coming generations at the very moment he conceives it; so he feels the extension of his existence through centuries and thus lives with posterity as well as for it."29 

While it is true that "There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come,"30  one's idea will often only be heard if one is persistent and skillful enough to present it effectively, and if one can escape repression by forces that would prevent its exposure.  For new ways of seeing things always have wide ramifications; they often affect, among other things, the ways that people make money.  Obviously, people who are making money in a certain way will do their best to prevent ideas from catching on that would undercut their means of livelihood.  The good news is that innovative ideas open up new ways of making a living: the successful presenter of new ideas is often assisted by members of a new generation who intuitively recognize new economic opportunities associated with new ideas.  Being ahead of one's time, and thus receiving delayed recognition or none at all, often involves being unable to find and make alliances with those other members of a new generation, or with those who are sympathetic to it. 

The question we are dealing with here--how one enters the leadership ranks of the public sphere--is quite appropriate to the discussion of Habermas.  It is interesting to speculate about how Habermas himself might feel he has achieved his position.  One suspects he would attribute his rise purely to merit, and that he would downplay the importance of manipulation and promotion by himself and his supporters. 

II.  Data Supporting the Prominence of Habermas

I have done a small amount of quantitative research in an attempt to establish that Jürgen Habermas's name  is indeed a household word in the social sciences.  I have included information about some other scholars to give a sense of comparison. 

Over the period 1989-1999, citations to the following four scholars in the combined Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences Indexes (indicating references to these names in footnotes of published articles) totaled: 
M. Scudson McLuhan Habermas  Foucault
738 1053  4274  8688

By year, citations to Habermas and Foucault in these indexes were as follows: 
year Habermas Foucault 
72 84 24
77 225 99
82 357 330
87 502 498
89 438 548
90 399 554
91 409 587
92 454 761
93 430 838
94 404 858
95 413 1000
96 402 934
97 370 1007
98 335 992
99 (incomplete) 220 609


In the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Library database: 
number of books
"McLuhan" in title 30
"McLuhan" as a subject 24
"Habermas" in title  103
"Habermas" as a subject 110
"Foucault" in title 153
"Foucault" as a subject 165


In the Academic Index (which includes articles from 1989 onwards): 
number of articles
"Habermas" in title 206
"Habermas" as a subject 247
"Foucault" in title  549
"Foucault" as a subject  338

These numbers consistently indicate that while Habermas is not referred to by authors as often as is Michel Foucault, who is perhaps the most popular figure in the social sciences today, Habermas is nonetheless an extremely popular figure among authors: surprisingly, he is the subject of many more article footnote references, and is mentioned in the titles of many more books, than is Marshall McLuhan, who undoubtedly was and is much better known among the general public. 

III.  Why and How has Habermas Become Prominent?

Three types of fame are: ancient classic (for the good of the state); Christian (featuring humility and martyrdom); and literary (yielding wisdom and beauty).  Habermas's fame is perhaps most closely related to the first type, although he is working for the common good of the people of the state, not for the state itself, and he does not mean to be working toward domination of any other people or state. 

I propose that Jürgen Habermas has risen to prominence in the social sciences for a number of reasons, including: 

    1)  He joined a prestigious institution and apprenticed himself to one of its leaders.

    2)  He positioned himself as an heir to a number of intellectual traditions, including Marx, the Frankfurt School, and the mainstream of Western civilization.

    3)  He identified a central problem (alienation) and suggested a resonant resolution (public communication).

    4)  He challenged numerous public figures, often drawing them and/or others into engagement in a series of academic and public controversies.

    5)  By telling the story of the public sphere, he has to some degree become the gatekeeper of it, defining what is allowed and what is not.


1)  He joined a prestigious institution and apprenticed himself to one of its leaders.

The Institut fur Sozialforschung (Institute for Social Research), the institutional home of a tradition of scholarship that would come to be known as the Frankfurt School, came into formal existence in 1923.  The research institute was conceived of and founded by Felix Weil, who had been encouraged by friends at the University of Frankfurt and was wealthy due to the earnings of his grain merchant father and his mother's inheritance.31  Early faculty members included Friedrich Pollack, Leo Lowenthal, Theodor Adorno, and Max Horkheimer.  The cultural background of the school was overwhelmingly middle-class German Jewish.  From the beginning, the intellectual mission of the Frankfurt School scholars was to study "modern technological apparatuses and to develop normative bases for acting on and changing the world so as to liberate humans from...domination by other human beings."32 

Jürgen Habermas was born in 1929.  In 1953, Habermas was admitted to the Frankfurt School.  He become Adorno's assistant in 1956, and did his Ph.D. under Adorno's guidance. 

2)  He positioned himself as an heir to a number of intellectual traditions, including Marx, the Frankfurt School, and the mainstream of Western civilization.

Habermas inherited the Frankfurt School's intellectual tradition, which was in 1953 already long and notable.  This tradition had been based on a synthesis of Marxism and liberalism, but from the beginning the School had questioned all orthodoxies.  Almost every thinker of significance in the canon of mainstream Western culture might be seen as having been a predecessor to or influence on Habermas, including: Kant, Fichte, Hegal, Wittgenstein, Popper, Pierce, Marx, Comte, Freud, Dilthey, Gadamer, Dewey, (G.H.) Mead, Parsons, Hempel, Luhmann, Weber, (E.) Burke, Lukacs, Ayer, Dahrendorf, Merton, Pierce, Nagel, Mills, Whorf, Godelier, Kuhn, Parsons, Durkheim, Garfinkel, Schutz, Piaget, Goffman, Lévi-Strauss, Husserl, and Hobbes, in addition to those associated with the Frankfurt School, such as Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, Fromm and Benjamin.33  Habermas treats these authors as his "virtual dialogue partners."34  This makes reading Habermas quite difficult if one is not fully conversant with the works of these men, as he is fond of abstract thought and his writing is full of allusions to their work.  Like any scholar, Habermas makes himself an extension of the tradition and canon with which he engages.  In synthesizing and updating that tradition in a significant manner, he has made himself an indispensable member of it. 

Marxism had sought to overcome the inadequacies of the human condition as they were seen to be manifested in distorted social relations of ownership and production.  By the time Habermas arrived on the scene, the "attempt to ground a vision of societal transformation and human emancipation on the proletariat had faltered."35  Habermas took the Marxist analysis as applied to property and material production--the owners' desire for surplus capital, the majority of humans being robbed of their rightful unity with the products they create--and reapplied it to communication.  "Habermas' theory of language and communication derived largely from Marxism but involved a systematic reconstruction of Marx's thought."36  Habermas said it was patterns of communication which had been distorted.  (More on this below.)  Habermas has written that "I mostly feel that I am the last Marxist."37  This implies to me that Habermas sees himself as a nexus in which Marxism is reformed, transformed, refined, improved, and brought forth to the next generation. 

Habermas also built on the tradition of pessimism of Adorno and Horkheimer about how mass culture had so captured the public stage that there is no possible leverage point for effective oppositional activity.  At the same time, Habermas "appreciates more than they did the positive aspects of the political thought of the Enlightenment...he is unwilling to relinquish the conceptual underpinnings he has associated with it."38  In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere,Habermas's positive assessment of the European Enlightenment and his insistence on the democratic potential of the Enlightenment was not compatible with the radical critique of reason in the works of Horkheimer and Adorno.  Through agreement, disagreement, and suggested modifications, Habermas has thus brought with him a great wealth of past thought, and this is one factor that has made him a valuable and renowned figure. 

3)  He identified a central social problem (alienation) and suggested a resonant resolution (public communication).

The Frankfurt School from its inception had been involved in trying to resolve the problems of alienation and the passive consumption of commodified culture.  In this effort it was engaged in a very ancient and consistent human quest.  As Michael Huspek puts it: 

Today, no less than in Greek antiquity, we are in need of normative theories that can help us to realize our true nature.  Through critical assessment of the conditions of modern institutional life, we may better overcome the multiple forms of alienation that follow as a consequence of humans dominating other humans.39
Humans dominating others, to Habermas, is most clearly exhibited in the dominators preventing the subordinates from communicating publicly.  "At the core of deliberative democracy is political conversation.  It is in conversation that citizens can bridge the meaning of their personal experience...with the meaning of political worlds."40  Rational-critical debate is Habermas's antidote and alternative to commodity-consumption culture.  To flourish, democracy demands continuous conversation, open argumentation, and debate.  Emancipation can only be achieved through a regeneration of the public sphere.  "For Habermas, our alienation from the world, self, or other is largely a by-product of the exigencies of institutional life which have denied us the opportunity to freely, openly, and honestly communicate in the form either of initiating or challenging validity claims."41 

A wonderful aspect of Habermas's vision is that it involves a rehabilitation of (small) business.  Habermas credits small business with breaking up the monopoly of royalty and state, and posits that with small business comes all sorts of liberation, including communication, travel, and intercultural exchange.  On a personal note--one positive result of my having read Habermas is that I no longer feel alienated from my role as a small businessperson.  (For the past 18 years myself and partner have operated a video production company.) 

Habermas's project is is truly post-ideological, neither of the left nor the right.  Although they might have slightly different ideas regarding how this should be done, it is the duty of every citizen to improve the public sphere.  Who but a tyrant would object to a lively public sphere?  The only villains in the piece are big business and big government.  The great question is: "How can the public participate when the media seem to be the sole provider of public space?"42  Habermas would not eradicate big media, but rather would somehow enable more activity by individuals. 

Habermas has called us to fall in love again, to fall in love with society, with our brother and sister citizens, with public communication itself.43   Habermas has spoken to and been heard by generations which had practically given up hope of even the possibility of fulfilling participation in a public sphere.  I must admit that before coming upon the work of Habermas (and the literature around him) recently, I personally had nearly despaired of hope.  I had nearly despaired of the hope that the problem could even be publicly addressed.  I had thought that the possibility of true public discourse was too far out of reach for that.  I vaguely took it for granted that no scholar had even acknowledged the problem in print. 

One scholar after another declares why Habermas is important, each saying it slightly differently: "The most ambitious and original feature of Habermas's whole work is his attempt to recast the study of society in a theory of communication."44  "Habermas developed a theory of  intersubjective communicative processes and their emancipatory potential."45  "Unlike Karl Marx's paradigm of production and social labor, Habermas has built a new paradigm of communicative action focused on the communicative mind, communication and rationality, and the communicative community."46 

As mentioned above, one great proposed solution to the central problem of modern times--alienation--had been Marxism.  Marxism identified "an unnatural condition whereby all humans are prevented from realizing their fullest nature."47  In Habermas's thought, "Communicative action...provides an alternative to money and power as a basis for societal integration."48  What this does is replace the primary fantasy of utopia prevalent in society from the late 1800s to the late 1900s -- Marx's classless society, in which workers own and control the means of material production--with a new version of that utopian vision, which involves people overcoming alienation through civic conversational communication.  Habermas was not alone in this turn toward (interactive) communication: 

Many contemporary movements are less preoccupied with struggles over the production and distribution of material goods and resources, and are more concerned with the ways in which postindustrial societies generate and withhold  information and produce and sustain meanings among their members.49
One problem with Marxism as it had been applied was "the long-standing failure in the dominant wing of the socialist and Marxist tradition to appreciate the full force of the distinction between the apparatuses of the state, on the one hand, and public arenas of citizen discourse and association, on the other."50  Habermas makes clear the need for thorough civic discourse, although he is vague about how public opinion should be publicized. 

In capitalist countries, "The pubic sphere [had been] turned into a sham semblance of its former self.  The shared, critical activity of public discourse was replaced by a more passive culture consumption on the one hand and an apolitical sociability on the other."51  "Early in the 1960s...public discourse was hardly audible in the U. S. amid the manipulative communications of consumer culture and consensus politics."52  However, 

Before that decade ended...the staid surfaces of the welfare state mass democracy had been fractured.  The civil rights and anti-war movements  disturbed the equanimity and passivity of public discourse, shattered consensus, and revitalized a conception of politics based on participatory democracy.  Those movements and student activism around the globe opened a narrow wedge in entrenched political structures and permitted their participants to experience, however briefly, a more commodious public space.53
In 1956, in The Phenomenon of Man,Pierre Teilhard de Chardin had summed up activity on earth as the evolution of matter toward consciousness, and the inter-mingling of these consciousnesses in what he called the noosphere, which he vaguely described as occurring in the atmosphere around the globe.  In the 1960s scholars in numerous fields settled upon communication as the key to the study (and future) of society.  Among these projects were: Marshall McLuhan's global village; folklorists' performance-centered approach 54; Dell Hymes' founding of the field of Ethnography of Speaking; and Erving Goffman's study of micro-social behavior.  All of these can be considered developments in sociolinguistics and all point to the process of shared being, that is, community.  "Following the linguistic turn in philosophy, Habermas has argued that the source of human emancipation is located neither in a specific class nor in any other empirically bounded group (e.g., artists, students, intellectuals) but rather is immanently present within all speakers' communicative competencies."55  Habermas made his contribution in part by telling the story of the public sphere and by grounding this telling in intellectual history: 
The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphereweaves together economic, social-organizational, communicational, social-psychological, and cultural dimensions of the problem in a historically specific analysis...  This multi-dimensional and inter-disciplinary approach enables Habermas to offer the  richest, best developed conceptualization available of the social nature and foundations of public life.56
"Habermas's major statement on the public sphere had relatively minor impact on the U. S. debate on the public sphere until its English publication in 1989."57  Perhaps not coincidentally, this was the year communism fell in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.  It seems that the coming of these historical events might have prompted Habermas to publish the translation at this time: for years he had put off publishing the translation because he wished to rewrite the entire book.  As it was, the timing was perfect: as one paradigm fell, a manual for a new paradigm became widely available: 
Specific books and actors become important in intellectual history when they begin to define a common paradigm for cultural analysis among groups of people who otherwise pursue widely divergent professional, political, and intellectual interests.  By this criterion, the works of Jürgen Habermas might already be compared to the books of Rousseau, Hegal, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Foucault, all of whom challenged and helped to transform the ways in which modern people understood past and contemporary societies.58

4)  He challenged numerous public figures, often drawing them and/or others into engagement in a series of academic and public controversies.

Perhaps the most important reason why debate has been such an integral part of Habermas's way of being has to do with a consistency he has maintained  between his philosophical positions and his putting into practice of these positions in his various talks and writings...  He presents a theory of argument and controversy by means of argument and controversy.59
Habermas has engaged in numerous public debates and controversies in his career, both within academia and in society at large.  In fact, his academic controversies contributed to bringing ideas out of the academy and to the attention of a larger (reading) public.  Habermas has spoken out often against regressive tendencies in the Federal Republic of West Germany and has consistently supported democracy and a theoretical position that furthers democratic principles.  "As a critic in the public sphere, Habermas has sought through both theory and practice to keep promises of democracy alive and to assist in their realization."60 

Seven of Habermas's controversies/debates are: 

a)   vs. Heidegger's Nazism (academic-public).
b)   vs.  Hans Albert's positivism  (academic).
c)   vs. Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutics (academic).
d)   vs. Sixties' students' violence (public).
e)   vs. Niklas Luhmann's systems theory (academic).
f)   vs. Francois Lyotard's poststructuralism (academic).
g)  vs. West Germany's rehabilitation of the Bitburg cemetery (public).

a)  vs. Heidegger's Nazism (academic-public).

On July 25,1953, while still a graduate student, Habermas published in the journal, Frankfurter Allgemene Zeitung,a review of the republication of Martin Heidegger's 1935 lecture, "An Introduction to Metaphysics."  Habermas wrote that it "clearly evidences the fascist coloration of the time."  Heidegger's text speaks of the "inner truth and greatness," seemingly, of the Nazi movement.  A defense of Heidegger was published  in Die Zeiton August 13: it was written by one Christian Lewalter, who minimized Heidegger's involvement with Nazism and implied that Habermas was a communist.  Heidegger himself defended his essay in a letter to the editor, published in Die Zeiton September 24. 

b)  vs. Karl Popper's and Hans Albert's positivism (academic).

Habermas's first extended academic debate became known as the "positivist debate."  It began in the following manner:  Habermas's mentor Adorno had an intellectual exchange with Karl Popper in the course of a conference held by the German Sociological Association in Tubingen in 1961.  Adorno accused Popper of adhering to positivism, by which Adorno meant "all procedures that isolate objects without reference to the totality of relations in which they are necessarily embedded."61  Habermas contributed an article for Adorno's festschrift which sought to clarify and defend Adorno's position.  This article was structured around citations from Adorno's response to Popper in Adorno's essay, "Sociology and Empirical Research."  Adorno and Habermas wanted to assert a dominance of critical theory over the incursion of empirical procedures.  They objected to survey-style research, claiming that empirical methods do not reflect upon their own presuppositions, and that the purely scientific realm conceived by Popper is a fiction.  A  key point for Habermas was his insistence that the scientific research process should be dependent on intersubjective agreement, an agreement that can only be based on norms drawn from the life world, that extra-scientific arena that he claimed Popper endeavored to bracket from pure science.62   Although Habermas's comments were addressed to Popper's arguments, he received no reply.  It was left to one of Popper's German disciples, sociologist Hans Albert, to answer Habermas.  In several essays and books written over the next few years, Albert argued against the objections of the "dialecticians."  One result of this episode was that for the first time in the postwar period, considerable attention was given to the problem of methodology of the social sciences.

c)   vs. Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutics (academic).

Habermas felt that Hans-Georg Gadamer was fundamentally mistaken in his rigid dichotomy of truth and method.  Habermas contended first that hermeneutics cannot afford to remain metacritical.  It must also partake in methodology if it is to be of any value to the human sciences.  Habermas expressed discomfort with what he perceived to be the total lack of objective standards in Gadamer's theory.   Habermas believed that ontological hermeneutics wished to sever all connections with epistemology.  Instead Habermas wanted to recruit hermeneutics for the methodology of the social sciences.  Habermas's basic critique was of Gadamer's attitude toward authority.  For Gadamer, authority was not necessarily authoritarian; for him, true authority does not survive because of blind obedience to a superior force, but because of insight into superior knowledge.  According to Habermas, Gadamer's championing of the prejudices handed down by tradition denies his ability to reflect upon these prejudices and to reject them.  What Habermas wanted was a critical dimension in hermeneutic thought, one that would carry out a critique of ideology.  Habermas's conception of knowledge is rooted not in tradition and the authority that emanates from tradition, but in rational insight and decisions that have the possibility to defy what has been handed down.  In his objections to Gadamer, Habermas was concerned with preserving a realm outside an ontological hermeneutical understanding that would enable one to reflect critically and politically on tradition.  Habermas objected to the passivity of the interpreter in the face of tradition, and to the legitimacy of carving out a privileged ontological realm that controls and oversees understanding.  It is ironic that Habermas put himself in a position to receive similar criticism of exclusionism regarding Habermas's insistence on normative rationality in the public sphere.  Habermas's initial objection to Gadamer's hermeneutics was published in Philosopische Rundschauin 1967.  A second contribution occurred in 1970 in a festschrift for Gadamer.63 

d)   vs. Sixties' students' violence (public).

Habermas generally functioned as an encouraging supporter of the West German student movement in the sixties.  At one crucial public meeting, however, Habermas counseled the students against provoking a violent reaction from authorities: he warned them not to engage in "leftist fascism."  This became the most controversial remark on the the student movement.64   Here as elsewhere, Habermas sought to preserve and extend existing democratic possibilities rather than make a radical break with the system. 

e)   vs. Niklas Luhmann's systems theory (academic).

Habermas perceived Niklas Luhmann's systems theory as the chief sociological challenge to Habermas's analysis of modern society.  This debate began in the late sixties.  From Habermas's point of view, he was defending his progressive, critical version of sociological theory from a conservative, legitimizing theory of society.  Again, Habermas was criticizing a methodology that he felt refused to reflect upon itself, and thus was an indirect apology for the status quo.  Systems theory, Habermas suggested, was a successor to positivism in this regard.  He felt that systems theory propagated a notion of the political sphere in complex societies that isolates it from democratic control.  Luhmann indeed conceived of "comprehensive, non-participatory planning shielded from the influence of the public and political parties as the only administratively acceptable model for Western societies."65   What Luhmann greeted as increased functional differentiation, Habermas bemoaned as an impoverished society.  Again, Habermas opposed exclusionism and favored public debate and involvement.  Habermas's engagement with Luhmann assumed a rather unusual form: Habermas organized joint seminars, to which he invited Luhmann, and the debate spawned three volumes of essays to which various scholars contributed.  He and Luhmann published a book together.66 

f)   vs. Francois Lyotard's 'poststructuralism' (academic).

Habermas was the challenged party in this instance.  The publication in 1979 of La Condition Postmodernecemented the connection between Francois Lyotard and poststructuralism.  Lyotard referred to Habermas at the end of this book, summing up his objections to Habermas in two central points:  First, Lyotard claimed that legitimization cannot be tied to universal consensus--a position he identified with Habermas -- because the pragmatic realm of language games is ungoverned by transcendental or preestablished rules.  Second, Lyotard assumed that for Habermas, the goal of dialogue is consensus.  But consensus can never be achieved, according to Lyotard, for consensus is only "a particular state of discussion, not its end."67  The background to this debate was that "Throughout the 1980s, Habermas was deemed to be a bit of a square, concerned as he was with questions of liberalism and normative political theory for the all-important achievement of 'consensus,' as opposed to the 'vibes' of the postmodern narrated by Francois Lyotard."68  Habermas expressed faith in reason, progress, Enlightenment, the project of modernity (see below).  Lyotard meanwhile called into question reason and logic, preferred discontinuity over consensus and progress, and insisted on myriad language games with no centralized rules.  To Lyotard, these games were a necessary form of resistance against big business and government. 

g)  vs. West Germany's rehabilitation of the Bitburg cemetery (public).

In 1986, Habermas criticized West German conservatives' attempts to establish continuity with a dubious heritage.  This controversy centered around the cemetery at Bitburg.  SS officers had been buried there, and Habermas sided with those who felt that it was for that reason an inappropriate place to commemorate peace with the Allies. 

5)  By telling the story of the public sphere, he has to some degree become the gatekeeper of it, defining what is allowed and what is not.

Directly after writing his dissertation (on the work of the German idealist Friedrich Schelling), Habermas proceeded to write The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere,which was for the most part a history of the public sphere in the West, beginning with ancient Greece.  In writing this book, Habermas was attempting to ground a theory of the public sphere in history, not just abstract principles.   Habermas places the public sphere in the very center of the Enlightenment project.  In fact, it can be said that with this book, "Habermas invented the notion of the public sphere."69 The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphereset the tone for, and demarcated the areas of interest of, Habermas's entire career.  None of his subsequent works have been as historical or sociological, veering instead towards the philosophical and the theoretical: these subsequent works have functioned to explicate the material presented in the first book.  The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphereis structured as a rise and fall story.  "The aim is to identify the conditions that made possible this type of public sphere and to chart their devolution...  Some new form of public sphere is required to salvage that arena's critical function and to institutionalize democracy."70  Although the heart of the book is about the bourgeois public sphere as Habermas imagined it occurring in 17th and 18th century Paris and London, the description vacillates between normative and historical: the book can be read as a how-to manual for reconstructing and practicing the public sphere in the present day. 

With The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere,Habermas defined his image immediately.  His subject was to be the public sphere and he was a to be a champion of it and of the rational discussion that supposedly enlivened it in its golden ages.  Habermas constructed an image of himself as a defender of normative rules for rational civic discourse.  Habermas seems to ask: Can we still, in our time, provide a rational justification for universal normative standards?  Or are we faced with relativism, which holds that ultimate norms are arbitrary and beyond rationality?  His ringing answer: The ideal of rationality can and should be maintained! 

Habermas is a self-proclaimed reformist.  He would reform the entire Western project, starting with Greek democracy and continuing through the Enlightenment.  He urges his audience to hold onto this heritage.  I submit that one reason Habermas has risen to prominence is that he has positioned himself as a defender of this great and lengthy tradition.  As Habermas puts it: "We observe the anarchistic intention of blowing up the continuum of history, and we can account for it in terms of the new aesthetic consciousness.  Modernity revolts against the normalizing function of tradition; modernity lives on the experience of rebelling against all that is normative."71  His message has been appreciated by many.  For example, 

The spirit of our times is one of deconstruction rather than reconstruction...   Habermas is aware of this present mood.  No one can accuse him of naivete.   Yet he constantly and persistently argues against the facile (and sophisticated)  attempts to dismiss the legacy of Western rationality.  One reason why Habermas's work has received so much attention is because--despite present  fashions--he addresses himself to what many of us still believe, or want to believe: that is it possible to confront honestly the challenges, critiques, the  unmasking of illusions; to work through these, and still responsibly reconstruct  an informed comprehensive perspective on modernity and its pathologies.72
Clearly, Habermas's approach has been popular with conservatives, although he has never abandoned the left.  It does not hurt a person's renown to be embraced by people in various areas of the political spectrum. 

Here is a partial list of Habermas's stipulations for public sphere discourse: 

    a) The form and content of the debate must be rational-critical. (One must support one's thesis with verifiable facts.  Consistency and causality must be adhered to.) 

    b) Only civic, common concerns may be discussed--the private (whether emotional or financial) is disallowed. 

    c) Participants should bracket status differentials and deliberate "as if" they were social equals. 

    d) The process must be limited to the forming public opinion; it can never become one of actual decision-making and self-management. 

    e) A single, comprehensive pubic sphere--where consensus can be achieved--is always preferable to a complex of multiple public spheres. 

In insisting on all of these conditions, Habermas was sincere, but also provocative.  As a result, "In the 1980s Habermas has frequently functioned as a straw man representing simplistic notions of enlightenment and reason."73  Habermas has said that he at times hardly recognizes himself in the attacks on him by French structuralists and others.74  Of course, he brought this misunderstanding upon himself by originally stating the necessary conditions for pubic sphere discourse in an unnecessarily rigid, abstract, and argumentative manner.  All he really meant by calling for rational-critical discourse was for people to be open to the questioning of all authority (be critical), to try to back up their arguments with facts (be rational), to speak as clearly and respectfully as possible, and to take turns in a fair manner.  Stated in these non-elitist and non-confrontational terms, these are hardly injunctions to which most people would object. 

In bringing the concept of the public sphere to people's attention -- by not only reminding them that such a thing is possible, but by placing it in the center of the Western project--Habermas also invited them to enter that sphere.  But Habermas placed himself and his conditions at the threshold.  In this way, Habermas has drawn a great deal of attention to himself.  "Habermas sees communication as all socially coordinated activities through which the human species maintains itself as human, that is, rational."75  He would define who and what is human and fit for the public sphere.  Who is he or anyone else to make such pronouncements?  Of course, nobody had to listen to him.  But because of his public prominence (gained in part through his affiliations with great traditions, institutions, and individuals, and his ability to publish), Habermas was difficult to ignore.  He seemed to desire to block the multicultural project, to discourage 'mainstream' people from trying to understand and welcome various others (people of color, women, homosexuals) -- that is, people with disparate styles.  His approach was very successful in getting a rise out of all concerned and in getting a conversation going.  Like almost everything that Habermas has written since that time, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphereelicited numerous, often lively responses among contemporary readers.  Several books appeared as direct replies to this work, and scores of essays augmented, corrected, or rejected his account of the public sphere.76 

As mentioned, Habermas's stipulations are abstract principles which, when pressed, he admits are idealized and unreal, both historiaclly and normatively.  For example, Habermas has recently written that "The growing feminist literature has sensitized our awareness to the patriarchal character of the public sphere itself."77  He has also admitted that "I can rightly be accused of having idealized what were presented as features of an existing liberal public sphere."78  Habermas's approach need not be discarded, but can be reformed, and he has shown himself to be very capable of cheerfully taking part in this reform process. 

Habermas is not really against expressions of love, friendship, compassion, and empathy in the public sphere.  He does not really oppose plurality, difference, and spontaneity.  Being a European man who came of age before feminism and other related reforms, he is simply a bit formal.  It must be remembered that the paradigm of authority that Habermas is reacting against is that of royalty and fascism.  His disdain for the image and the emotional is based in his resistance to the use of those things by large entities for the purpose of domination: he seems only secondarily to consider that those things could be used for expression by individuals. 

In his insistence on rationality in public discourse, Habermas seems to be unaware that it was western white men, products of the supposedly rationality-centric culture he glorifies, who enslaved and tortured Africans and other people of color on a scale never before imagined; started two world wars; and so on.  It may in part be the emotional self-repression of those who pride themselves in being rational that has caused those individuals to act out in all sorts of self-destructive and outwardly-destructive ways.  What I am raising here is the possibility that rationality (like all forms of linear thought), taken to the extreme, involves suppression of emotion, compassion, conscience, love.  Could such a supposition ever be tested?  I doubt it.  Morever, it might well be said that the individuals mentioned above never achieved enough rationality -- that is, it was lack of, not the quest for, rationality that led them astray. 

While it is certainly useful for one to be able to converse in such a way as to be able to communicate efficiently with speakers of standard versions of major languages, the entire attempt to set conditions for ideal speech is inevitably exclusive.  As one scholar puts it: "The foundations of communication are not the ideal equal relationships that Habermas imagines, but are instead based on an exclusive, learned, and gendered, symbolic heritage."79  "Public realm theory would do well to abandon a strong normative conception of the public sphere for a more flexible, phenomenological approach."80  One should not be forced to constrain oneself to speak within the limits of an existing political vocabulary, for "It is moments of defiance and disruption that bring the invisible and the unimaginable into view.  Attitudes of defiance, chaos, and spontaneity...are counter to Habermas's strictly dialogic and procedural approach."81   Habermas would banish the performative aspects of participation, which cannot be captured or constrained within the confines of rational discourse -- in fact it is often the point of performative aspects to cross over those boundaries, or at least to threaten to.  Habermas threatens to regularize--and thereby suppress -- not only "the irreducible heterogeneity of language games" but the plurality of voices that might participate in such games."82 

According to Habermas, public sphere speech must convey facts and ideas.  Phatic speech (speech that serves social purposes) and speech declaring or celebrating identity, culture, or emotion has no place in Habermas's ideal speech situation, and hence "persons whose speech is richly colored with rhetoric, gesture, humor, spirit, or affectation could be defined as deviant or immature communicators."83  To disallow the stylistic, emotional, and aesthetic aspects of speech is of course ridiculous--and logically impossible, as all communication has an aesthetic component. 

The simple truth is that Habermas is prejudiced in favor of the written, nay, the printed, word, and this does makes him somewhat of an elitist.  In a recent interview with a U.S.A. editor, 

Habermas described himself as old-fashioned in the sense that he believes in  texts rather than oral presentations.  He said he thinks that print...provides certain healthy restraints on the process of the mind.  As a result, Habermas said, "The print media are still at the core of any media we have now."  He  argued that print media are the primary source from which TV and movies draw their substance.  "A world without print -- imagine it!  The level of articulation and analysis would be left to drown.  Print is necessary for maintaining the public sphere."84
To this same editor, Habermas granted all of the caveats about the impossibility of objectivity, but added, 
"You should never drop the ideal of reliable information--if you do, everything is lost...  What is required is the highest level of discourse.  You should try to  follow the maxim to collect the best arguments for the most precisely stated  position on the issue under discussion...  At the core of [journals'] mission is to maintain the discursive character of public communication.  Who else, if not this type of press, is going to set the standards?"85
As for his stipulation about what does and does not constitute proper subject matter, Nancy Fraser notes: 
Only participants themselves can decide what is and what is not of common  interest to them.  There is no guarantee, however, that all of them will agree.  For example, until quite recently, feminists were in the minority in thinking that  domestic violence against women was a matter of common concern and thus  a legitimate topic of public discourse.  The great majority of people considered  this issue to be a private matter between what was assumed to be a fairly small number of heterosexual couples (and perhaps the social and legal professionals who were supposed to deal with them).  Then feminists formed a  subaltern counterpublic from which we disseminated a view of domestic violence as a widespread systemic feature of male-dominated societies.  Eventually, after sustained discursive contestation, we succeeded in making it a common concern.  The point is that there are no naturally given, a priori boundaries here.  What will count as a matter of common concern will be  decided precisely through discursive contestation.  It follows that no topics should be ruled off-limits in advance of such contestation.86
Habermas's conception of the nature of political theory is largely derived from the classical tradition.  To be a truly useful working model for large groups of contemporary people, the classical tradition needs to be opened up a bit, made more inclusive, and updated--especially in light of feminist theory.  Political and civic discussion today occurs in such places as the kitchen, and as friends are watching Monday Night Football.87  Social and intellectual reality in 1999 (especially in the U.S.A.) has become a very thorough mix of low and high culture.  In No Sense of Place,Joshua Meyrowitz describes the blurring of the private and the public, the low and the high, that is taking place in society today.  He attributes this especially to visual electronic communication, which by exposing the flawed humanity of everyone, including the most exalted authority figures, exposes hierarchies as artificial.  Clearly, Habermas has mixed feelings about the rise of public informality: he wants authority to be criticized, but for this to be done in a disciplined manner. 

Habermas calls for a clear separation of society and state.  For him, the public sphere is "a network for communicating information and points of view [which are]...filtered and synthesized in such a way that they coalesce into bundles of topically specified public opinions."88  Numerous critics have replied that critical theory needs to take a harder, more critical look at the terms "private" and "public."  These terms, after all, are "not simply straightforward designations of societal spheres; they are contested cultural classifications and rhetorical labels.  In political discourse, they are powerful terms that are frequently deployed to delegitimate some interests, views, and topics and to valorize others."89  In particular, "A rhetoric of privacy has historically been used to restrict the universe of legitimate public contestation."90 

Habermas distinguishes two types of discursive participation: decision-orienteddeliberation, which takes place primarily in formal democratic institutions and leads directly to legislation and action; and informal opinion-formation, which is "uncoupled from decisions...and effected in an open and inclusive network of overlapping, subcultural publics having fluid temporal, social and substantive boundaries."91  He argues that the role of the public sphere is to "amplify the pressure of problems, that is, not only detect and identify problems but also convincingly and influentially thematize them, furnish them with possible solutions, and dramatize them in such a way that they are taken up and dealt with by parliamentary complexes."92  Nancy Fraser counters that 

Any conception of the public sphere that requires a sharp separation between (associational) civil society and the state will be unable to imagine the forms of self-management, interpublic coordination, and political accountability that are essential to a democratic and egalitarian society.93 

What is needed is a postbourgeois conception that can permit us to envision a  greater role for (at least some) public spheres than mere autonomous opinion formation removed from authoritative decision making.  A postbourgeois  conception would enable us to think about strong and weak publics, as well as  about various hybrid forms.  In addition, it would allow us to theorize the range of possible relations among such publics, thereby expanding our capacity to envision democratic possibilities beyond the limits of actually existing democracy.  94

Habermas's conception seems to imply that an expansion of the public's authority to encompass decision making as well as opinion making would threaten the autonomy of public opinion -- for then "the public would effectively become the state, and the possibility of a critical discursive check on the state would be lost."95  Of course,  for a public to give up the option of being able to govern directly is emblematic of the members of that public feeling satisfied, well-off, and in-control.  "Habermas neglects that the bourgeois public sphere was oriented not just toward the defense of civil society against the state, but also toward the maintenance of a system of domination within civil society."96  Habermas has recently acknowledged that in 17th and 18th century Europe there were indeed multiple public spheres, that "virtually contemporaneous with the bourgeois public sphere were nationalist publics, popular peasant publics, elite women's publics, and working class publics."97 

Habermas's great contribution -- and the thing that I hope he is remembered for -- has been his bringing of the concept and potential of the public sphere to general attention.  He, with others, has rescued this idea from the dustbin of history.  Just as Freud's great contribution was in shedding light on the unconscious mind in general, and does not rely on the universal validity of any of his theories about particular complexes, so Habermas's greatness is also not based on his pontifications about what is appropriate for the public sphere, but rather on his raising the possibility of such a sphere in the first place. 

Many scholars begin with the supposition that the Habermasian project is "in need of something."98  They say that the "theory of communicative rationality and discourse is an 'unfinished project"99, and speak of "addressing the unfinished business of imagining postmodern democracy"100.  They point out that "Habermas stops short of developing a new, post-bourgeois model of the public sphere."101  I believe that this is one more reason that he is so popular: his project is indeed unfinished.  This invites others to join in and further the process.  Habermas's passion for the public sphere is contagious: most anyone who studies Habermas's work seems to feel called upon to critique his point of view and/or to add their own.  Habermas never intended his pronouncements to be the last word, but rather to be a means of stimulating discussion.  Critical theory is about the dialectic process, not final answers: the critical process calls for "self-corrective discourse, sensitive to a critique of systematic exclusionary mechanisms built into them."102  In stimulating and enabling discussion, Habermas then becomes all the more famous as his defenders and opponents extend and modify his story of the public sphere. 

IV.  Addendum

Having provided numerous explanations of why and how Habermas has become a household word in the social sciences, I beg the indulgence of the reader to permit me to now briefly suggest some specific proposals for ways to move Habermas's vision of a public sphere toward fulfillment. 

Although Habermas was extremely prophetic in seeing the refuedalization of society through the spectacle of the electronic image (as perfected in the Reagan years), he oddly does not directly comment on the positive potential of interactive telecommunication.  As it turns out, however, cyberspace fits Habermas's recent descriptions of the public sphere quite well: he writes that the public sphere is a "linguistically constituted public space"103 which is defined not by a physical presence, but rather by a "communicative structure."104  Habermas agrees with Tarde that printed journals and newspapers were the most important mediated elements of the public sphere in 17th and 18th century Europe, where they developed out of private handwritten letters (often merchants wrote letters about market conditions and possibilities).  E-mail, listservs, and websites represent a renaissance of small media on the borderline between the private and the public.  Habermas perhaps distrusts these new forms of communication because their information is often unverified: it is only though public discussion that such verification can occur. 

Clearly, many people want to be included in the deliberations of society.  I posit that it is not really the case that most people crave fame: I believe there is a deeper and more common craving for social engagement and involvement -- in small groups, and in larger communities.  The issue of fame and celebrityhood is a red herring: those things are false substitutes for true engagement, which is now very much possible through interactive telecommunication. 

"When we cannot see the assembled public at once--no Forum--we look to its symbolic substitute in the media."105  Along with mass media representations of the public came polls: in fact, polls are often presented through the mass media.  "Citizens do not themselves produce public opinion today; it must be generated through the machinery of polling.  The power to constitute the public space, then, falls into the hands of the experts, not of the citizens."106  The only solution Habermas seems to present in The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphereis increased "participation of private people in a process of formal communication conducted through intra-organizational public spheres."107  This may have been the best answer before the Internet: it is no longer.  Now members of the public can represent themselves directly. 

Many people can partake in interactive telecommunication from their homes and offices, but for those who cannot or who are traveling, there need to be community Internet centers open on a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week basis.  Such community Internet centers are an indispensable component of the antidote to present-day alienation.  Each neighborhood can design its own: in some neighborhoods, it can be a government-sponsored project: in others, more business-sponsored.   People should be able to go to such centers to partake in civic debate, as well as to work for themselves, work for others, socialize, etc.  There are an increasing number of types of work that one can do from a multimedia computer terminal, including website design, information processing, programming, and answering telephone calls for businesses.  Many of these types of work require a very small amount of initial training and can be done at odd hours.  In other words, the concept of unemployment is absolutely dated, artificial, and unnecessary.  Access to employment is now simply a matter of having access to the workplace (an Internet-connected computer), and of governments and businesses developing easy ways for people to sit down, go to a website, and get started.  Before, while, or after people work they can socialize and partake in civic discussion.  People in academia are especially accustomed to this sort of thing, as looking at websites and trading e-mails is both part of our research and of our social lives, and often the line between the two is blurred. 

Two possible forms of interactive telecommunicational public sphere activity are: multipoint Internet videoconferencing; and the representation of individuals on a mosaic grid.  No less of an authority than the New York Times confirms that "The world is obsessed with turning the Internet into a video distribution system."108   Perhaps the most computer-memory-intensive form of Internet video distribution is multipoint videoconferencing, which, incidentally, enables (a reconstruction of) face-to-face communities.  One software product presently on the market enables 12 participants to appear on the screen at once (audio and text are also shared).109  AT&T has been experimenting with 16 windows.  Simulations with many more videoconferencing windows are commonly presented on television and in magazines.  People could form small groups by any criteria--including physical location, political perspective, keyword, etc.  I believe it might be sensible for governments to give incentives of some sort for small groups to remain intact over time, for the sake of fostering community.  I imagine award ceremonies for Internet videoconferencing groups that have remained intact and produced and made available its opinions/arts/commodities/etc. 

Websites are becoming de riguer for citizenship, and websites are quickly becoming personalized television stations, as one can send live video and audio to one's website 24-hours-a-day.  One can send the same live video to one's website and to one's videoconferencing window: that is, one's website and videoconferencing window can be the same thing.  Although the quality of interaction decreases as the number of participants in a videoconference increases, and as the size of each member's window decreases, it may for certain occasions be appropriate to reduce the size of each participant's videoconferencing window to a single pixel (smallest addressable picture element).  Almost all TV and computer screens have at least 400 horizontal and 300 vertical pixels, yielding a total of 120,000 pixels.110   This means that 120,000 individuals could, by choosing the color of their assigned pixel, together create a common visual field--for the purposes of voting, expression of opinion, artwork, etc.  Such issues as, "Who would set up and administer such a system?", and "Who would ask the questions that people would respond to with color?", are among those that would need to be worked out. 

Habermas writes: 

I don't think that we can ever again, or even that we should ever again, bridge the institutional differentiation between the science system and political agitation, organization, and action.  That is what Lenin tried to do.  And I think  that it's a part of the past that we don't want to retrieve.  So there are just bridges between us as participants in some sort of political action and as  members of the science community.111
Yes, the primary business of academia is analysis.  However, I feel analysis has led me to a conclusion: I submit that what is now called for in society is the implementation of new methods of public sphere interactive telecommunication (such as multipoint videoconferencing, and mosaic self-representation of large numbers of individuals, available in 24-hour community centers).  These new infrastructures are coming into being, and they are in part being built in the name of Jürgen Habermas, whose name will live eternally, for he has most ably championed a cause -- the public sphere -- which is destined to grow.  As for his championing of the rational: it is a constructive thought, and satisfactory compromises can definitely be achieved. 


1  Harriet Zuckerman, Scientific Elite:Nobel Laureates in the United States,New York: Free Press, 1977, p. 59. 

2  Zuckerman, p. 59. 

3  Zuckerman, p. 207. 

4  Zuckerman, p. 207. 

5  Zuckerman, p. 107. 

6  Zuckerman, p. 179. 

7  Zuckerman, p. 6. 

8  Leo Szilard, as cited in Zuckerman, p. 6. 

9  Zuckerman, p. 60. 

10  Zuckerman, p. 126. 

11  Otto Warburg, as cited in Zuckerman, p. 128. 

12  Zuckerman, p. 127. 

13  Zuckerman, p. 127. 

14  Zuckerman, p. 127. 

15  William Josiah Goode, The Celebration of Heroes: Prestige as a Social Control System,Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1978, p.7. 

16  Goode, p. 23. 

17  Goode, p. 33. 

18  Goode, p. 44. 

19  Stuart Ewen, PR!: A Social History of Spin,New York: Basic Books, 1996, p. 14. 

20  Ewen, p. 18. 

21  Ewen, p. 36. 

22  Ewen, p. 71. 

23  Irving Rein, Philip Kotler, and Martin Stoller, High Visibility: The Making and Marketing of Professionals into Celebrities, Lincolnwood, Illinois: NTC Business Books, 1997, p. 259. 

24  John Rodden, The Politics of Literary Reputation: The Making and Claiming of "St. George" Orwell,New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 9. 

25  Rodden, p. 69. 

26  Rodden, p. 69. 

27  David Hume, as cited in Rodden, p. 69. 

28  Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Literature,trans. by T. Bailey Saunders, Ann Arbor: U. of Michigan Press, 1960, p. 87. 

29  Schopenhauer, p. 94. 

30  This is a paraphrase of Victor Hugo's statement that, "One can resist the invasion of an army, but one cannot resist the invasion of ideas whose time has come" (Histoire d'un Crime,1852, p. 10). 

31  Martin Jay.  The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research,1923-1950, Boston: Little, Brown, 1973, p. 5. 

32  Michael Huspek, "Toward Normative Theories of Communication with Reference to the Frankfurt School: An Introduction,"  Communication Theory,7:4, Nov. 1997, pp. 266. 

33  12/2/99. 

34  Michael Pusey, Jürgen Habermas,London: Tavistock, 1987, p. 14. 

35  Craig Calhoun, ed., Habermas and the Public Sphere,Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1992, p. 5. 

36  George Gerbner, ed., International Encyclopedia of Communication,Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1989, p. 477. 

37  Jürgen Habermas, "Concluding Remarks," in Calhoun, p. 469. 

38  Robert Holub, Jürgen Habermas: Critic in the Public Sphere,London: Routledge, 1991, p. 8. 

39  Huspek, p. 274. 

40  Joohoan Kim, On the Interactions of News Media, Interpersonal Communication, Opinion Formation, and Participation: Deliberative Democracy and the Public Sphere,Annenberg School dissertation, Philadelphia, PA, 1997, p. 4. 

41  Huspek, p. 269. 

42  J. D. Peters, "Historical Tensions in the Concept of Public Opinion," in Public Opinion and the Communication of Consent,Glasser, T. L.  &  Salmon, C. T., eds., NY: Guilford Press, 1995, p. 14. 

43  Francesco Alberoni's Falling in Lovehas reminded me of the connections between romantic love and social movements. 

44  Pusey, p. 69. 

45  Calhoun, p. 5. 

46  Ljubisa Mitrovic., "New Social Paradigm: Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action," Facta Universitatis: Series in Philosophy & Sociology,1999, 2, 6/2(special issue), p. 217. 

47  Huspek, p. 267. 

48  Calhoun, p. 31. 

49  John Keane, "Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere," Media, Culture, and Society,v. 17, 1995, p. 9. 

50  Nancy Fraser, "Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy."  In Calhoun, p. 110. 

51  Calhoun, p. 23. 

52  Mary P. Ryan, "Gender and Public Access: Women's Politics in Nineteenth Century America," in Calhoun, p. 259. 

53  Ryan, p. 259. 

54  See:  Américo Paredes and Richard Bauman, eds., Toward New Perspectives in Folklore,Austin: U. of Texas Press, 1972. 

55  Huspek, p. 269. 

56  Huspek, p. 269. 

57  Lewis Freedlan, "Electronic Democracy and the New Citizenship," Media, Culture, and Society, April 1996,  vol 18, no 2. p. 188. 

58  Lloyd Kramer, "Habermas, History, and Critical Theory," in Calhoun, p. 236. 

59  Holub, p. 2. 

60  Holub, p. 188. 

61  Holub, p. 25. 

62  Holub, p. 35. 

63  Holub, p. 73. 

64  Holub, p. 84. 

65  Holub, p. 125. 

66  That book was:  Jürgen Habermas and Niklas Luhmann, Theorie der Gesellschaft oder Sozialtechnologie (Theory of Society or Social Technology: What does Systems Research Accomplish?),Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1971. 

67  Holub, p. 139. 

68  Robert Fletcher, "The Past as Future" (book reviews), Sociology,Nov. 1995, v. 29, n. 4, p. 746. 

69  Victor S. Navasky, "Scoping Out Habermas," Media Studies Journal,Summer 1995, v. 9, n. 3, p. 118. 

70  Fraser, p. 110. 

71  As cited in Holub, p. 134. 

72  Richard J. Bernstein, ed., Habermas and Modernity, Cambridge,Mass.: MIT Press, 1985, p. 25. 

73   Holub, p. xii. 

74   Habermas, as cited in Navasky (1995), p. 119. 

75   Gerbner, p. 356. 

76   Holub, p. 2. 

77   Habermas, 1992, p. 425. 

78   Habermas, 1992, p. 463. 

79   Jessica J. Kulynych, "Performing Politics: Foucault, Habermas, and Postmodern Participation," Polity,Winter 1997, v. 30, n. 2, p. 340. 

80  James Johnson and Dana R. Villa, "Public Sphere, Postmodernism and Polemic," American Political Science Review,June 1994, v. 88, n. 2, p. 434. 

81  Kulynych, p. 320. 

82  Johnson, p. 429. 

83  Kulynych, p. 321. 

84  Navasky, p. 121. 

85  Navasky, p. 122. 

86  Fraser, p. 130. 

87  E-mail from Christopher Hunter, 11/19/99. 

88  Kulynych, p. 320. 

89  Fraser, p. 132. 

90  Fraser, p. 132. 

91  Jürgen Habermas, Between Facts and Norms,trans. by William Rehg, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1966, p. 307. 

92  Habermas, 1996, p. 359. 

93  Fraser, p. 136. 

94  Fraser, p. 136. 

95  Fraser, p. 136. 

96  Calhoun, p. 39. 

97  Fraser, p. 116. 

98  Huspek, p. 272. 

99  Seyla Benhabib and Fred Dallmayr, eds., The Communicative Ethics Controversy,Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990, p. 72. 

100   Bruce Robbins, ed., The Phantom Public Sphere,U. of Minn. Press, 1993, p. xii. 

101   Fraser, p. 110. 

102   Habermas, 1992, p. 478. 

103   Habermas, 1996, p. 361. 

104   Habermas, 1996, p. 360. 

105   Peters, p. 16. 

106   Peters, p. 20. 

107   Habermas, 1989, p. 248. 

108   Peter Wayner, "Satellites May Clear Logjams on Net," New York Times,12/2/99, p. G17. 

109   White Pine's CU-SeeMe software program. 

110   Pixels are the 'smallest addressable picture elements,' the irreducible building blocks, that compose the mosaic that is a TV or computer screen image. 

111   Habermas, 1992, p. 471. 


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