A Cosmopolitan Public Sphere: Jürgen Habermas' Public Sphere, Mutual Human Obligations and Online Movement
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Research question: How is Jürgen Habermas’ concept of the public sphere applicable to a contemporary cosmopolitan, online context? Explored in three chapters.The first chapter can be seen as an extended introduction and will provide an answer to the question: What is cosmopolitanism? And: Where do we stand in de cosmopolitan discourse? The first question will be answered by a limited discussion of some of the most important cosmopolitan thinkers. The second question will lead to an evaluation of the cosmopolitan discourse and its central problems. The second chapter is a thorough investigation of the concept of the public sphere, which will be guided by the following questions: How did Habermas describe the rise of the public sphere? How did it function? Why did it structurally transform? What are the most important critiques on Habermas’ concept of the public sphere? What are the most important ideas on the Internet as a public sphere? How could a decontextualized public sphere be defined? Each of these questions will be discussed in a separate section. Finally in the third chapter I will perform a case study of the Avaaz movement. The central questions in this section will be: What is Avaaz.org and how does it operate? How cosmopolitan is Avaaz? Can Avaaz.org, and if so, to what extent, be considered a public sphere?