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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Exploding the Public Sphere: Democracy and Communication in a Changing World Order

Tessa Morris-Suzuki.

In the opening years of the twenty-first century, the most visible public expressions of the desires of non-governmental groups have taken forms far removed from conventional images of civil society or of participation by social movements in the public sphere. At one extreme have been the events of September 11 2001 and the Bali bombings, acts of dramatic violence whose ideological messages are still being decoded; at the other extreme, events like the massive, peaceful but apparently apolitical gathering of some two million Red Devil Korean soccer fans to celebrate "the pride of Asia". Against this background, and drawing examples particularly from East and Southeast Asia, the paper will seek to explore some problems of the notion of the "public sphere" as a space of democratic action in the contemporary world order.


Tessa Morris-Suzuki  (Australia)
Professor of Japanese History
Pacific and Asian History,
Australian National University

Tessa Morris-Suzuki is Professor of Japanese History in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, and President of the Asian Studies Association of Australia. Her research interests include frontiers, globalization, and cross-border social movements in Asia. Among her recent publications are: Re-inventing Japan: Time, Space, Nation (M. E. Sharpe, 1998); A View from the Frontier (in Japanese, Misuzu ShobĂ´, 2000); and In Search of Critical Imagination: Japan in an Age of Globalization (in Japanese, Heibonsha, 2002)

  • Public Sphere
  • Civil Society
  • Democracy
  • Communication

(30 min Conference Paper, English)