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Egocentric Argument and the Public Sphere: Citizen Deliberations on Public Policy and Policymakers

From: Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Volume 4, Number 3, Fall 2001
pp. 407-431 | 10.1353/rap.2001.0045


A healthy public sphere is necessary for a healthy democracy. While most diagnoses currently point to an ailing public sphere, we currently have very little empirical information about the functioning of this discursive realm. To enhance our empirical understanding, the present essay analyzes discussions from nationwide focus groups and argues that the major ailment confronting the public sphere is the predominance of egocentric arguments.

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