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Religions, Audiences, and the Idea of the Public Sphere

Religions, Audiences, and the Idea of the Public Sphere

Chapter:
(p.49) 2 Religions, Audiences, and the Idea of the Public Sphere
Source:
Who Owns Religion?
Author(s):
Laurie L. Patton
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226676036.003.0003

This chapter considers cultural conflicts in light of theories of the public sphere. It points out the moments of challenges to the Habermasian idea of the public sphere. In the discussion of Habermas and his critics, the chapter pursues a theoretical assessment of the idea of the public sphere and its relevance to controversies and scandals in the study of religion. It points out the ways in which Habermas's critics make the public sphere a multiple and complex space. In addition, the chapter describes the distinction between the concept of a rule-governed public “sphere” and that of a less contractual, more chaotic public “space”. This is what Habermas calls the “wild sphere”. This chapter also discusses the role of history and sexuality in the debates conducted as part of a shared conversation between members of a religious community and scholars.

Keywords:   cultural conflict, public sphere, Habermas, public space, religious community, controversy, scandal, wild sphere

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