The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society
Jurgen Habermas, 1992, Polity Press

“This major work retraces the emergence and development of the Bourgeois public sphere – that is, a sphere which was distinct from the state and in which citizens could discuss issues of general interest. In analysing the historical transformations of this sphere, Habermas recovers a concept which is of crucial significance for current debates in social and political theory.”

Mobile publics: beyond the network perspective
Mimi Sheller, 2004, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 22(1) 39 – 52

“As practices of social coordination and connectivity shift in contemporary urban spaces, in part because of the increasing hybridisations of technologies and infrastructures of communication and transportation, public life is being reconfigured and respatialised. In this paper I argue that models of ‘publicity’ have paid insufficient attention to the ways in which publics are deeply embedded in social and machinic complexes involving the mobilities of people, objects, and information.”

Networked Publics
Kazys Varnelis, 2008, MIT Press

“Digital media and network technologies are now part of everyday life. The Internet has become the backbone of communication, commerce, and media; the ubiquitous mobile phone connects us with others as it removes us from any stable sense of location. Networked Publics examines the ways that the social and cultural shifts created by these technologies have transformed our relationships to (and definitions of) place, culture, politics, and infrastructure. Four chapters—each by an interdisciplinary team of scholars using collaborative software—provide a synoptic overview along with illustrative case studies.”

The Fall of Public Man
Richard Sennett, 2003, Penguin

“Sennett writes first of the tension between the public and private realms in which we live, arguing that different types of behaviour and activity are appropriate in each. He argues that the barrier between these different realms has been eroded, and that this breakdown is so profound that public man has been left with no certain idea of his role in society. Sennett sees the development of the city as the single most important element of the social change he describes, and puts his argument in its historical perspective through an analysis of the changes in our built environment from the 18th century to the present day.”

The Return of the Public
Dan Hind, 2010, Verso Books

“Our politicians have ever-decreasing legitimacy. Even as they amass ever more riches our financiers are now morally and intellectually bankrupt. In their different ways politicians and those who control the private economy system claim to be acting in the public interest. Yet we, the public, have little say in decision-making and almost no power to change the terms of a series of increasingly absurd debates about economic and foreign policy. How have we been excluded from so many discussions about the public interest?”

See Also: Data, Civic