In this essay it is argued that the "public sphere", as a social reality, is rooted in a specific historical time and can assume several shapes. Authors distinguish three main patterns: the liberal, the democratic, and the communitarian. These three perspectives look at the public sphere in different ways and still remain the main frameworks to understand the mediated public sphere. The essay outlines the need of drawing suggestions from all three traditions in order to understand which could be the role of media in a pluralistic public sphere.
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