Communication and Culture | Current Topics in Communication and Culture (Topic: The Global Politics of Television)
C334 | 30853 | Bradfield, S.

MW, 1:00 PM-2:15 PM, TE F260

Instructor: Shelley-Jean Bradfield
Office: C2 270

The concept of the public sphere is central to the democratic
potential of the media, and television in particular. This sphere is
the place, space and attitude of citizens towards government and
each other. Contemporary concerns about the domination of media in
politics pivot around the likely existence of a mediated public
sphere. This class will examine the notion of the public sphere with
reference to global paradigms of broadcasting. In particular we will
examine Habermas’ conceptualization of this sphere and criticisms
from feminist, queer and critical race scholars who point to its
exclusivity. Finally, we will follow this elusive ideal across
continents to establish the ways in which the public sphere
functions and its limitations. Questions that this course will
address include

•	How do various paradigms of broadcasting effect the
democratic possibilities of television?
•	How has the public sphere been defined and in what ways do
these definitions limit television as a public sphere?
•	What would a more inclusive vision of the public sphere look
•	What effect does audience reception have on the democratic
potential of television?

Course Topics
•	Global Television Paradigms:
o	Ownership, Control and Financing
o	Market Structure and Organization
o	The impact of geography, demography, economy, culture and
o	Industrial and Colonial models in the developing world
•	Habermas and the Public Sphere
•	Criticisms of Habermas’ public sphere theory by feminist,
queer and critical race scholars
•	Public Interest or/and the Market
•	Public Service Crisis or Opportunity?
•	Global Television case studies and the public sphere

Selected Readings
•	Habermas, et al. The Public Sphere: an Encyclopedia Article
(1964)” New German Critique, 3 (1974), pp. 49-55.
•	Calhoun, Introduction: Habermas and the Public Sphere
•	Garnham. The Media and the Public Sphere
•	Schudson. Was there ever a Public Sphere?
•	Fraser. Rethinking the Public Sphere
•	Dahlgren. Television, Public Spheres and Civic Cultures
•	Ouellette. TV Viewing as Good Citizenship? Political
Rationality, Enlightened Democracy and PBS. Cultural Studies 13, 1
(1999): 62-90.
•	Ronald Jacobs and Brian McKernan (2009) American Television
as a Global Public Sphere. Paper presented at the annual meeting of
the American Sociological Anthropology Meeting, Sheraton Boston and
the Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA
•	Ryan. Gender and Public Access
•	Landes. The Public and Private Sphere: A Reconsideration. In
Feminism, the Public and the Private (ed. Joan Landes) Oxford:
Oxford University Press 1998): pp. 135-163.
•	Baker. Critical Memory and the Black Public Sphere. In The
Black Public Sphere. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
•	DeLuca and Peeples. From Public Sphere to Public Screen:
Democracy, Activism, and the “Violence” of Seattle. Critical Studies
in Media Communication 19, 2 (2o02): 125-151.
•	Hamada. Satellite Television and Public Sphere in Egypt: Is
there a Link? Global Media Journal 7, 12 (2008)
•	Steiner. The Feminist Cable Collective as Public Sphere
Activity. Journalism 6, 3 (2005): 313-334.