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Between Lies And Real Books: The Breakdown Of Censorship And The Modes Of Printed Discourse During The English Civil War

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Chapter Summary

One of the consequences of the conflict between King Charles I and his parliament in the years leading up to and during the English Civil War was the emergence of a public sphere constituted of printed discourse. This chapter contributes to the critique of a Habermasian understanding of the Civil War public sphere. It argues that the inadequacy of Jürgen Habermas' model is explained through important structural differences between the Habermasian model and what can be observed regarding the institutional underpinnings of the public sphere of printed polemics in England of the 1640s. This is done by examining two interrelated phenomena: (1) the lack of hermeneutic transparency which was characteristic for the sphere of printed discourse during the period of the English Civil War; (2) the breakdown of the political and economic regulation of printed discourse, an unforeseen consequence of the political conflicts leading up to the English Civil War.

Keywords: English Civil War; Jürgen Habermas; printed discourse; public sphere



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