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Journalism and the ‘social sphere’: Reclaiming a foundational concept for beyond politics and the public sphere

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/02/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Journalism Studies
Issue number4
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)483-498
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date26/10/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article realigns the field of journalism studies to acknowledge within itself the multiple dimensions of social life and, as well, to provide greater clarity on the social and cultural forms and functions of journalism. It reclaims the importance of the “social sphere” as a key foundational concept for journalism studies with its links to collective identity, sociability, social honour, and soft coercion. We argue the relevance of the social sphere has been subsumed over time by the dominance of the “public sphere” and, most recently, has been considered synonymous with the rise of social networking platforms and tools. Here, we recommend that scholarship shifts from the dominant influence of political theory in explanations of journalism's societal function to the value of critical cultural sociology, which reconciles power with the basic human desire for social order within individual–institutional–cultural interactions informed by and through journalism.