Response to “The public sphere without democracy: some recent work in LIS”

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/JD-09-2019-0170
Publication Date25 Apr 2020
Pages617-623
AuthorMichael Majewski Widdersheim,Masanori Koizumi
Response to The public sphere
without democracy: some recent
work in LIS
Testing article
In this response to The public sphere without democracy: some recent work in LIS,we note
five major concerns we have with the article: it misrepresents our work, the premise of its
critique is unfounded, it expresses a dogmatic view of research, it confuses different types of
knowledge and it ignores relevant literature.
While we welcome critical discussion of our work, this articles content is seriously flawed,
misleading and one sided.
The article misrepresents our work in numerous ways, including but not limited to the
following:
(1) Thearticle inaccuratelyclaimsthat our definitionof the publicsphere is basedsolely on
Habermass 1962 Structural Transformation. In fact, we reference Habermasslater
works as well (Widdersheim, 2018b;Widdersheim and Koizumi, 2016,2017).
(2) The article incorrectly claims that our work interprets Habermas directly.This
claim suggests that we offer no new definitions of our own. In fact, while we
reference Habermas, we also contribute new and original ideas, including a new
framework, new models (Widdersheim and Koizumi, 2016,2017) and a new theory
(Widdersheim, 2018b).
(3) The article erroneously states that we acknowledge only a single, unified public
sphere. This is incorrect. Within the larger public sphere, we differentiate several
arenas of public sphere discourse according to their issues, actors and audiences
(Widdersheim, 2018b;Widdersheim and Koizumi, 2016,2017).
(4) The article falsely asserts that we dismiss normative and intersubjective elements of
the public sphere in our definition. In fact, normative and intersubjective elements
are included in the definitions we use and the problems we address (Widdersheim,
2018b;Widdersheim and Koizumi, 2016,2017).
(5) The article falsely alleges that the governance arena of our model represents
managed communication,not authentic and undistorted communication. This is
inaccurate. As we explain, this communication is not forced or manipulated but
initiated by users themselves (Widdersheim and Koizumi, 2016,2017).
(6) The article inaccurately states that the influence channel in our model is part of the
public sphere dimension. In fact, the influence channel is part of the private sphere
dimension (Widdersheim and Koizumi, 2017).
(7) The article falsely states that the legitimation dimension in our model incorporates
the steering media of money and power. In fact, the steering medium there is
language (Widdersheim and Koizumi, 2017).
(8) The article falsely alleges that we conflate the public sphere with civil society and
the lifeworld. This is a distortion. We do not equate the terms but articulate the
relationships between them (Widdersheim and Koizumi, 2016,2017).
Editorial
617
Journal of Documentation
Vol. 76 No. 3, 2020
pp. 617-623
© Emerald Publishing Limited
0022-0418
DOI 10.1108/JD-09-2019-0170

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