It was shortly after Syriza’s party in Greece won the elections when the government decided to take out the metal barriers standing between the public Syntagma Square and the Greek parliament. Full of symbolism, the barricade illustrated well the conflict and tension of the past years. With its removal the government was able to send a message to its citizens: they were now part of “the people” and they were going to work together towards a better future (Andreou, 2015).
The anecdote above serves me well to introduce the topic I cover in this essay; broadly, the relationship between the public sphere and public space. By exploring Habermas’ theoretical gaps in his conception of the public sphere, or more specifically, given the lack of a specific spatiality in his theory, I seek to address this void by offering my own interpretation of it. Perhaps better defined as a speculative thought-experiment, this essay analyse the relationship between the public sphere — understood as a democratic ideal — and the physical space where this could take place, embodied by the figure of the public bench, particularly by the Camden Bench.
Full-length PDF version available upon request.
Shorter version published at Vitamin here.