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the public sphere:

'mostly it is used to refer to those features of the structure of social experience which regulate, administer, mediate or ultimately resolve the division between public and private discourse. the most specialised and systematic use of the public sphere refers to the arenas of public discussion and debate; so they include government institutions which are publicly funded for the national interest, as well as commercial industries such as the broadcasting media which address the public as an audience but which are controlled by private interests.'

'habermas's analysis of the public sphere focussed on the quality or form of rational debate and the quantity of, or openness to, popular participation. while the concept itself operates as an ideal within habermas's work, its adoption in sociology, cultural and media studies has been a consequence of its practical usefulness in providing an angle of inspection onto the public workings of contemporary democratic societies, onto their openness, accessibility, and ultimately their rationality.'

graeme turner, in the essay 'australian literature and the public sphere' which is in the book Australian Literature and the Public Sphere. published by the association for the Study of Australian Literature, 1999. edited by alison bartlett, robert dixon and christopher lee.