PHEB706 Publicity and media


Both the nature of communication and the transformation of the public sphere are key philosophical issues from Plato to Habermas. The course scrutinizes different approaches and perspectives towards the media and its impact on identity, knowledge transfer, propaganda, politics, ethics and aesthetics. The course outlines also different means and ends of the communication.

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Assoc. Prof. Iassen Zahariev, PhD

Course Description:


1) know:

• Main theories explaining the nature of communication.

• Contemporary problems related to media studies

• Different approaches in understanding the public sphere.

2) can:

• Apply various theories and concepts.

• Analyse different media issues.

• Contextualize contemporary social problems and their connection with the publicity.


Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:


  1. The problem of communication in philosophy
  2. The history of the concept of communication
  3. The idea of communication in Phaedrus
  4. John Locke’s account of the “transportation of ideas”
  5. The birth of mass media
  6. What is “public sphere”
  7. Social structures in the public sphere
  8. Dialectic of the public sphere
  9. Media and ideology
  10. Infiltration of the public and private spheres
  11. The public opinion
  12. Mass culture and its critics
  13. Manipulation, propaganda and advertising.
  14. The cultural industry
  15. Media and consumer’s society


Adorno, Theodor and Horkheimer Max. Dialectic of Enlightenment

Cover, Rob. Digital Identities. Creating and Communicating the Online Self

Habermas, Jurgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

Le Bon, Gustave. The Crowd. A study of popular mind

McLuhan, Marshal. Understanding media: The extensions of man

Morris-Suzuki, Tessa. The past within us: media, memory, history.

Parry, Roger. The ascent of media: from Gilgamesh to Google via Gutenberg

Peters, John Durham. Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication

Peters, John Durham. The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media

Taylor, Charles. Sources of the self: the making of the modern identity.


Mid-semester exams:

1. Analysis;

2. Annotation;

End-semester exam:

1. Presentation;

2. Discussion.