Canada's House of Commons and the Perversion of the Public Sphere

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Title: Canada's House of Commons and the Perversion of the Public Sphere
Authors: Dumoulin, Jennifer
Date: 2011
Abstract: Jürgen Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere has been described as outdated and incompatible with 21st century democracies. Among other things, Habermas’ initial formulation excluded the state from the public sphere. Recently, a revised model of the public sphere has emerged that positions the state and other law-making bodies at its centre. Although some theorists have embraced this revised model, others continue to exclude the state or oversimplify its role. While some research has examined how parliaments fit into this revised model, no research has been published on this in a Canadian context. This thesis attempts to fill this gap by answering the research question: Does the Canadian House of Commons constitute a form of the public sphere? To answer this question, the Canadian House of Commons is explored along three dimensions of the public sphere – structure, representation, and interaction. This system of classification conforms to the essential function and institutional criteria of classical theory and also accounts for revised models of the public sphere. Ultimately, this work argues that the Canadian House of Commons satisfies the structural and representational dimensions of the public sphere. Its interactional dimension, however, is found to be inconsistent with public sphere theory due to a lack of real deliberation and the pervasiveness of party politics.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/20162
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-4728
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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