Political realism, legitimacy and public communication

The purpose of this project is to (re)construct another conception of political legitimacy and public opinion. As an alternative to "idealist" conceptions of the public sphere, this project receives insights from a realist line of thought in political theory (eg. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Hume, Weber, B. Williams, N. Luhmann and others.) The first part of the project confronts predominating political theory with actual changes followed by the web and social media facing the public sphere. It seeks to clarify to what extent political theory takes account of such changes, and reversibly, the book examines in what ways contemporary Internet development continue to carry the values of openness and argument further. The general idea in the following chapters is to mobilise political ideas that directly and indirectly address the nature and functions of our current amorphous and complex public sphere, with an emphasis on the implications of the Internet, including the web and social media. I will argue that the predominant normative concept of ‘the public sphere’ is unsuited to help us understand contemporary opinion-formation and legitimacy. This part is published as a book called "The Digital Soap-box" at Universitetsforlaget 2016. Another monography is in process, adressing realist political and social theory.