In this parted essay I will be exploring the concept of a public sphere developed by Jurgen Habermas and how much art and specifically music and its discourse affects the public sphere.
According to Habermas, the public sphere is a space where people come together to discuss matters of common interest and to form opinions that can influence political decisions. This space is characterized by a free exchange of ideas, rational argumentation, and critical discourse, and it is open to all citizens regardless of their social status or background. Habermas argues that the public sphere emerged in the eighteenth century as a result of the rise of the bourgeois class and the development of print media. However, the public sphere is not immune to inequalities of power and access, and that it has been subject to various forms of exclusion and manipulation throughout history. Nevertheless, the public sphere remains an important ideal for democratic societies, as it provides a forum for deliberation and collective action.
The concept of the public sphere is not an isolated idea however it is influenced by many different social and economic factors. According to Habermas the public sphere is a “circle” where private people come together to form a public collective. This space can have its origins traced back to coffee houses that formed in British cities, which enabled people to convene and engage in talks and arguments on plenty of different subjects. Around the 18th century said coffee houses became very popular as it allowed visitors to read newspapers or books which then lead to discussions. Habermas concept however and his view on it is very idealistic as it is based on the idea that everyone was seen as an equal in those discussions however during the 18th century society was unfortunately divided and certain parts of society such as women and the rest of the working class were not a part of such debates which goes to prove the lack of inclusiveness of public spheres. In his book Habermas did not mention said spheres from other communities other than middle class men.