Overview of Special Issue

The concept of publicity as a sphere of its own was first introduced to social scientific discourse by Jürgen Habermas in 1962. His novel contribution consisted in the development of an ideal type of social discourse: the “bourgeois public sphere”, a relatively dense network of public communication that managed to emerge from the middle of the 18th-century private sphere. This utopia of rational and universalistic politics was imagined to be free from both the economy and the state. However, according to Habermas, the same forces that initially established it eventually destroyed it. Identifying the consumeristic drive that successfully infiltrated all levels of society as its main cause. A detailed description of this downfall would fill the pages of his 1972 book, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere.
Today, in a world increasingly characterized by rapid media transformations and corresponding structural shifts in public communication, the question of the public is more relevant than ever. The aim of this issue is to promote and attract contributions on this question by turning its attention to three interrelated thematic spheres:

  1. The conceptual sphere. This part reassesses the validity and reach of the original concept as well as alternative models. At this meta-theoretical level, comparisons between the ostensibly antagonistic theoretical perspectives of systems theory and the theory of communicative action become possible.
  2. The historical sphere, which includes the historical situation in which the original concept was developed, the political culture of 1950s Germany; the one it talks about, the 18th century; as well as possible predecessors or pre-adaptive advances of the public sphere Habermas had not initially considered.
  3. The global or transnational sphere, wherein both conceptual and historical questions intersect under varying cultural and local conditions.


The deadline for submission of full papers in the range of 4000 to 7000 words is 1st June 2020. Authors will receive reviewers’ feedback no later than 1 August 2020. Revised versions must be submitted by 1 September 2020.

Submission Details

Submissions to this journal are through the ScholarOne submission system.

Please visit the journal’s author guidelines for further details on the submission procedure. In submitting, please ensure you select this special issue from the relevant drop- down menu.