In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere Jürgen Habermas (1962/1990) gives a historic account of the formation of the public sphere and its decline. There he argues that in the feudal system, while public events did happen, they were merely of a representational character. Everybody was present, but in a representational capacity only, there was no public discourse, no difference of opinion was allowed and all actual power was centralized in the institution of the souvereign/monarch. The events of public life followed a strict ceremonial protocol.
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