As we all know, recently China is the fastest growing developing country in the world, under this situation; people in China are more concerned about the development of public awareness, which stand for the individual freedom thinking and civic consciousness. With prompting citizens to identify themselves with public linked together, in interaction with others, discussions, negotiations universality found consensus and common values is the process of public awareness, and at the same time, promote active citizenship into public sphere.
Public sphere, in rhetoric, a place for citizens to express their ideas and opinion, are becoming an important concept in China during 1990s. The concept of Public Sphere was originated during 18th century by German scholar Hannah Arendt, with analyzing of the human condition, the origins of totalitarianism and the plight of the modern constitutional issues in the public domain, thus Hannah Arendt opened the public sphere theory study of the regiment.
In 1961, German sociologist Jürgen Habermas credited this term in his book The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere – An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society (1962; English translation, 1989) He states that:
“The bourgeois public sphere may be conceived above all as the sphere of private people come together as a public; they soon claimed the public sphere regulated from above against the public authorities themselves, to engage them in a debate over the general rules governing relations in the basically privatized but publicly relevant sphere of commodity exchange and social labor.” (Harbermas, 1989: p.216)
In simple terms, Habermas’s view of Public Sphere is more focus on those citizens who are under the condition of democracy and civil liberties, and have rights to participate in the political activity and have free discussion of public affairs. The public sphere is always critical on public affairs, independent of political construction, but it also has political legitimacy.
This paper will mainly argued if China have the public sphere in modern times, with applied and criticized Habermas’s notion of public sphere, and to studies how it affect to modern citizen awareness in China.
The Dialectics of Public Sphere
Habermas’s research of public sphere was one of the most influential works in contemporary social science area, his theory with focusing on the perspective of democratic theory, emphasizing the political public sphere as an important role in achieving of democracy, advocate the right of citizens to express and exchange their views of public affairs.
The study of Harbemas’s public sphere is mainly based on the bourgeois society, during that time; those economic and political privileges of the bourgeoisie meet in small café, political clubs, literary salons, museums and other public spaces where socio-political discussion took place. One thing have to be mentioned, those conversations were strictly limited to person within...