Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Roots of RadicalismTradition, the Public Sphere, and Early Nineteenth-Century Social Movements$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Craig Calhoun

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226090849

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226090870.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 20 November 2019

The Reluctant Counterpublic

The Reluctant Counterpublic

(p.152) Chapter Five The Reluctant Counterpublic
The Roots of Radicalism

Craig Calhoun

University of Chicago Press

Liberal theory assumes that private property and political independence are intertwined, a relationship built into classical conceptions of the public sphere during the eighteenth century. Based on this notion, independence grounded in private existence allowed people to reason in disinterested ways about public affairs. Such “bourgeois” thinking was rejected by Karl Marx, who dismissed bourgeois democracy and instead advocated a revolutionary class struggle that would transcend any politics of individual opinions. In contrast, Jürgen Habermas saw unfulfilled radical and progressive potential in the categories of bourgeois democracy. The debate between liberalists and Marxists over bourgeois realities makes it hard to understand radicals such as Thomas J. Wooler, a key voice in English popular radicalism who fought for an integrated public sphere and resigned himself, along with other radicals, only reluctantly to a politics of counterpublics. This chapter explores the response of rationalist intellectuals, often followers of Thomas Paine, to the idea of the public sphere, and how the dominant political public was shaped by exclusion of the most radical voices.

Keywords:   public sphere, Karl Marx, bourgeois democracy, Jürgen Habermas, Thomas J. Wooler, radicalism, politics, counterpublics, intellectuals, Thomas Paine

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.