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Political Communication in the Media Society
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We're now moving on to the second ICA2006 conference keynote, by veteran media scholar Jürgen Habermas. Unsurprisingly, the conference plenary is packed to the rafters for this - and the presentation should also be online on the ICA site soon. In fact, I'm going to refrain from blogging this - Habermas's English and elocution isn't the best, making this presentation very difficult to follow and blog at the same time. I did take a few photos of the major slides, though, and I'll upload those as soon as I can.

Just a few quick impressions, then - I must admit I was a little underwhelmed by Habermas's talk. As best as I could make out, he presnted a fairly traditional, rigid model of public deliberation, from a time when politicians were politicians, journalists were journalists, and passive little audience members remained passive little audience members. Clearly this doesn't sit well with models like the citizen-consumer, user-led content creation, alternative journalism, the produser, or indeed the mass self publication phenomenon that Manuel Castells described in yesterday's keynote - it fails to allow for a move of audiences from a relatively passive stance of participating only by voting or responding to opinion polls to a more active discursive and deliberative involvement in democratic deliberation. It retains the mass media as those who act out public deliberation for, and in front of, the citizenry.

So much for my first impressions, anyway - again, these are based only on what I was able to make out from the keynote, and I will need to engage more directly with the published keynote. I do think that the slides from the Habermas keynote will support these observations, though...

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