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Schutzian Research

Volume 6, 2014

Michael M. Hanke
Pages 93-103
DOI: 10.5840/schutz201467

The “Well-Informed Citizen” as a Theory of Public Space

Alfred Schutz’ article on the well-informed citizen can, among others, also be read as a treatise on the information flow in democratic society. To be “well-informed” is a challenge the citizen has to keep up with in order to play his role in civil society, and being well-informed is also to be seen as a precondition for a fairly functioning political community. For Jürgen Habermas, it is the free press that guarantees public communication of democratic societies and which is threatened by the colonisation of the life-world by system constraints following capitalistic logic. The systems nowadays threatening the life-world have additionally become digital in nature, questioning the traditional division of public and private, whereby the challenge of the well-informed citizen set up by Schütz has not lost any relevance nor contemporary interest. On the basis of Schutz’ framework, these questions are debated in the context of Habermas’ Structural Change of the Public Sphere, Volker Gerhardt’s theory of the Public Sphere, and Vilém Flusser’s analyses of the new telematic digitalized society.

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