When asked the question- do you contribute to what is known as the public sphere? I immediately answer yes. Everyday we are exposed to what is considered to be a global village, mainly through the presence of the Internet and television. Through media flows such as posting blogs, pictures and creating opinionated Facebook statuses, we are contributing to globalization and the public sphere. Within this public sphere, citizens are able to voice opinions, share thoughts, experiences and ultimately- their culture.
A prime and modern day example of this is Big Brother- the reality series that reflects a social experiment where cultures, values and beliefs are exchanged between strangers. As much as people conform and lose a sense of individuality, everyone is different, resulting in clashes or friendships.
The nation watches on, there is a global village taking place, where citizens from different backgrounds are forced to spend day in, day out, with each other. In other words, Big Brother poses literal example of a public sphere- with the public being the housemates and the sphere being the boundaries of the house. Conversations and behaviors will result in either agreements or values and morals will clash. Big Brother creates this for television and pure entertainment. The intention behind this reality series, questions the prominence of dominant groups and whether it is exerting a hegemonic view towards the world- through the power of the media.
According to Steven (2003) ‘hegemony is achieved when the power of the dominant groups in society appears natural’. In the Big Brother house, the equivalent could be the dominant personalities over the shy and timid- a natural and common assumption. Steven (2003) also states that hegemony ‘works within everyday culture and seems to provide a frame for understanding experience’.
On the notion of online forums and blogs, at what point do we ask ourselves, are we subconsciously being watched and monitored by gatekeepers and watchdogs, therefore do we become self conscious and more aware of we say?
Reference: Steven, P 2003, ‘Political economy: the howling, brawling, global market place’, The no-nonsense guide to the global media, New Internationalist, Oxford, pp. 37–59.