Sfera pubblica e dissenso nell'era digitale

Anno XLIX, n. 211, settembre-dicembre 2014
Centro Einaudi
Articolo completo/Full text


The Internet has contributed to reconceptualize the notions of public and private sphere in deliberative democracies. The aim of this paper is to discuss how the new media and the web 2.0 have changed the patterns of political participation and the role of responsible citizenship. The first part of the article introduces the questions of public sphere and deliberative democracy, underscoring the crucial distinction between private and public sphere: while the former is the space of work, consumption and economic inequality, the latter is conceived as the grounds for political equality, which is essential in order to achieve a well-functioning deliberative process. In a healthy democratic process, each person is supposed to act like a responsible citizen, capable of making future-oriented decisions for the whole of society, and not like a consumer, fascinated by the maximization of choices and trapped in the endless present of the consumption spiral. Subsequently the focus moves to the web 2.0 and its potential to enhance (or to undermine) democratic practices: the paper deals with the issue whether the web is providing a new public sphere or just reproducing the consumption spiral through the dangerous illusion of a horizontal communication network.