Rethinking 'the public' in troubled times: unsettling nation, state and the liberal public sphere

Newman, Janet (2007). Rethinking 'the public' in troubled times: unsettling nation, state and the liberal public sphere. Public Policy and Administration, 22(1) pp. 27–47.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0952076707071502

Abstract

This article begins with contemporary concerns about the demise of public institutions and public values. New strategies of governance across Europe and beyond make any clear delineation of 'the public' and the public sphere highly problematic. The modernization of welfare states involves a shift of powers from state to market, but also a shift of responsibility from public to personal domains. The liberal values associated with the traditional public sphere seem illequipped to address questions of social diversity and deepening inequalities, or to respond to contemporary questions of culture, faith and identity. New spatial flows, bringing cross-national and globalized relationships, are dissolving any simple equivalence between nation, citizenship and the public sphere. How, then, might we better understand the terrain on which struggles around the future of publics and publicness are being played out?

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