The Disintegration of the Public Sector: Recasting Public Conversation

Tony Judt in Transformations of the Public Square:

Tony-judt Students frequently tell me that they only know and care about a highly specialized subset of news items and public events. Some may read of environmental catastrophes and climate change. Others are taken up by national political debates but quite ignorant of foreign developments. In the past, thanks to the newspaper they browsed or the television reports they took in over dinner, they would at least have been ‘exposed’ to other matters. Today, such extraneous concerns are kept at bay.

This problem highlights a misleading aspect of globalization. Young people are indeed in touch with likeminded persons many thousands of miles away. But even if the students of Berkeley, Berlin and Bangalore share a common set of interests, these do not translate into community. Space matters. And politics is a function of space—we vote where we live and our leaders are restricted in their legitimacy and authority to the place where they were elected. Real-time access to likeminded fellows half a world away is no substitute.

More here.