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The Habermasian Public Sphere and Exclusion: An Engagement with Poststructuralist-Influenced Critics

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Abstract

One trenchant critique of the Habermasian public sphere conception, voiced particularly strongly by poststructuralist-influenced critics, is that it fails to fully account for exclusion. In this article I examine the strength of this critique. I begin by demonstrating how Habermasians have in many ways already theorized public sphere exclusion. Given this, I ask what is left of the poststructuralist-inspired critique. I argue that what is left is a deep disagreement with Habermasians about the grounding of the public sphere conception. I subsequently ask what difference, and moreover what positive contribution, a poststructuralist (rather than a Habermasian) grounding can make for understanding public sphere exclusion and associated politics.

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