Habermas on Liberties and Public Opinion

Room: 
Room 1.29, Law & Politics Building
Time Slot: 
Wednesday 28th March 11:00 - 12:30
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr Daniel Kuchler (Center for Global Politics, Berlin)
Panel Discussant: 
  • Dr Shinichi Tabata (Waseda University)
Panel Members: 
  • Mr Siyang Liu (Durham University)
  • Mr Keith Pisani (University of Malta)
  • Ms Ravza Altuntas-Cakir (Durham University)

Habermas’s theory of law as the medium between facticity and validity posits that citizens could only protect their private liberties by exercising civil rights to form public opinion with regard to the legitimacy of their legal order. Nevertheless, the role of public opinion has been undermined from the early 20th century onwards because the general public is under increasing influence of the capitalist market and state bureaucracy. The recent rise of populism and the far-right parties in the United States and Europe calls to attention the urgency of strengthening the independent role of public opinion, since public opinion has been shown to give often effective support to various extreme political views. In this light, this panel is looking for papers focusing on the following questions: Is it morally desirable to base the legitimacy of a legal order solely on the public opinion of the people? Whether the public opinion based on rational-critical debate alone can hold accountable the powerful elites in capitalist market and state bureaucracy? Is it desirable for emotional expression to hold sway in the debate of public issues? Is it desirable for pubic deliberation in the public sphere to accommodate religious doctrines?