The Public Sphere

The public sphere is an ideological realm in which the voice of every citizen of a society is heard.  However, of course, in practice this is not the case.  We elect individuals to speak for us as a society, to voice our public opinion, and in that step alone, many people’s voices are lost.  Simply by electing rulers or government officials, we are creating a multi-class system that automatically caters to the ideals and needs of the ruling class.

Marx and Engels suggest that these ideas and interests of the ruling class are so engrained into our society that we are completely unaware of their affect on us and our lives.  They become so commonplace that we cannot even think of life being any other way.  Our thoughts, ideas, actions and values have all been determined by the ruling class and the restrictions they have imprinted on us and we have unknowingly succumb to.

Although the amount of corruption and propaganda that controls the public sphere is great, I find Marx and Engels’ suggestion a bit extreme.  However, they make a very valid point in that we must make ourselves aware of this deception and falsity that exists in our so-called public sphere.

We can see the ruling class’s agenda clearly in the discrimination that is allowed to exist within our society.  The racism, sexism and economic injustice prove an interest of the upper class and a neglect for the needs of the lower class.  And we all allow ourselves to be blind to this to some extent, but we are aware that we are silenced.  We are all quite aware that our voice will not be heard in the public sphere beyond the pull of a lever on Election Day.

So the public sphere does not exist in the immaculate state that we dream it to.  There may be times when certain issues important to each of us receive more attention and we feel that we have more of a public voice, but a completely equal discourse will never exist.  However, although the public sphere may not be something that will ever truly exist in a completely unbiased state, it is an important idea to hold on to so as not to lose our hold in government completely.  It is important to maintain this ideology in order to remind ourselves that we have the right to be heard from time to time.

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