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The general peer: the public sphere in the age of profilicity (profile-based identity)

Hans-Georg Moeller (Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Macau, Taipa, Macao)

Kybernetes

ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 29 July 2020

Issue publication date: 4 May 2021

312

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to outline the concept of the general peer in detail and to show its relation to the relevant social theories by Niklas Luhmann and Jürgen Habermas. It also aims at illustrating the concept with concrete examples from the academic system and the arts/mass media.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper introduces the concept of the “general peer” as an alternative to the concept of the “public sphere.” It situates the concept in the context of the concept of “profilicity” indicating a profile-based mode of identity.

Findings

The paper suggests that the concept of the general peer describes actually existing forms of the public better than the concept of the public sphere. It relates the general peer to second-order observation and functional differentiation prevalent in contemporary society.

Research limitations/implications

The paper suggests that the concept of the general peer denotes a significant element of the constitution of profile-based identity (profilicity) in contemporary society.

Practical implications

The concepts of the general peer and profilicity may be used to conduct empirical research on the constitution of identity and the curation of profiles in various social contexts.

Social implications

The paper can help understanding how to develop and assess profiles and their impact in contemporary social contexts.

Originality/value

The two concepts general peer and profilicity are theoretical innovations.

Keywords

Citation

Moeller, H.-G. (2021), "The general peer: the public sphere in the age of profilicity (profile-based identity)", Kybernetes, Vol. 50 No. 4, pp. 994-1003. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-05-2020-0295

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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