Huijser, Hendrik and Little, Janine (2008) Get up! For what? Issues driven democracy in a transforming public sphere. Transformations, 16 . ISSN 1444-3775
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It is no coincidence that the contested state and status of democracy is paralleled by debates about the media and the public sphere, for these concepts are intimately interwoven and interdependent. The increasing fragmentation of the media, accelerated by technological change and new media environments, is often seen as an important cause of a simultaneous fragmentation of the public sphere into ‘public sphericules’. In this context, GetUp! provides an interesting case study, as it can be seen as being implicated in all three of the developments referred to. In other words, it can be seen as at once a consequence of media fragmentation and a disintegrating public sphere, and a driver of a new form of democracy that we might call ‘issues-based’, rather than dependent on membership of, and loyalty to, traditional political parties. It thus appeals to distinct public sphericules, rather than a unified public sphere. This paper explores the potential of this new manifestation of democracy, as well as its limits. For if democracy is an idea that is ‘yet to arrive’, then surely we have a duty to ensure that it arrives at a desirable destination, if only momentarily.
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