Ota de Leonardis

Declino della sfera pubblica e privatismo

  • Abstract

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According to classics such as Arendt, Habermas, Sennett, the public sphere is exposed to risk of decling and falling over the whole history of modern society. This article explores the present significance and features of this problem outlining both an analytical perspective and a hypothesis on this regard. Avoiding common sense equation between public and state, or political system, the analysis aims to show the social embeddedness of the public sphere in everyday practices and discourses within and about those institutions where collective problems and solutions are socially constructed and recognized. This focus on the everyday life also suggests the hypothesis of the rise of privatism. This cultural process, it is argued, moves beyond the Hirschman's shifting involvement in private life and implies an ongoing metamorphosis of individualism seriously drawning on the public sphere. Sings and features of privatism are found in, a) the civil society diffusive forms of association and self-organization - mainly in those practices and discourses of voluntary action and solidarity so enphasized today - and, b) in the organizational processes and outcomes of the welfare state institutions, paradoxically generating a privatist retreat from citizenship.

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