Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's November 2001

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Contents 1. Introduction 3 2. Public culture 5 3. Public communication and deliberation 10 4. Basic structures of public deliberation 14 4.1 The social organization of public deliberation 15 4.1.1 Legal and political frameworks 15 4.1.2 Organizations, markets, communication channels and technologies 16 4.1.3 Differentiation of the public 22 4.1.4 Communication roles and categories of participants 27 4.1.5 Influence and stratification 31 4.2 Symbolic structures of public deliberation 35 4.2.1 Symbolic boundaries of deliberation 35 4.2.2 Types of argument, symbolic frameworks 37 4.2.3 Levels of abstraction or generality, "genres" of public deliberation 39 5. Public Culture, processes and structures of public deliberation: some interrelations 42 5.1 The Reproduction of public culture in public deliberation - some general observations 42 5.2 Some further questions and conjectures 45 Literature 50 1. Introduction In 1955 appeared one of the path-breaking studies on public communication: "Personal Influence: The Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communication", by Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld.

In his foreword, Elmo Roper gave an interesting, though somewhat silly description of the American public. In Roper's picture, the public can be stratified in six groups, whose relationships he describes as six concentric circles. In the center are the "Great Thinkers", who have developed important theories or philosophies. Around them is a somewhat larger circle of "Great Disciples", who work out or advocate those theories or philosophies. Next are - in increasing sizes - the circles of "Great Disseminators", reaching larger publics, and of "Lesser Disseminators", with somewhat smaller audiences. Then come the "Participating Citizens" and finally the "Politically Inert". Roper adds that these groups "are not mutually exclusive. A Great Disseminator in one field may be Politically Inert in another..." (Roper 1955, xv-xviii).

What is wrong with this picture, or what is missing? Some questions and objections...

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