Depopulating the Political Sidelines: CBC News Online Forum and Public Spheres in Canada
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The subject of the Internet's potential to foster a public sphere has become a growing area of research in the social sciences in the last two decades. My research explores comments made by participants on the CBC News online politics forum during the May 2011 federal election in Canada. Based on conditions proposed by Jurgen Habermas in his concept of the public sphere and operationalized by Lincoln Dahlberg in his pioneering study of the Minnesota e-Democracy listserv, my thesis explores the potential for the CBC News online forum to foster a public sphere for Canadians. While examining the CBC News online forum against the criteria of the public sphere, I also interrogate Habermas' concept of a universal public sphere using the works of Nancy Fraser and other scholars, who argue for multiple public spheres.