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Discussions at the dinner table

The Media Theory Toolbox and ‘The Public Sphere’

The ‘public sphere’ is an environment where individuals come to voice and express their opinions, troubles, news and current social matters. In this modern digital age, I am updated on current news and social discussions through social media like Twitter, which I discussed in my last blog post ‘Media Ownership’. But this isn’t a place that I feel comfortable or welcome to share my opinions or dilemmas upon. The comment section can be a scary place!

I would say that my public sphere is my family’s dinner table where my parents and brother try to uphold our tradition of eating dinner together every night.

We usually sit down with the television playing in the background discussing what is happening in everyone’s lives and what we’ve heard lately. The TV plays as a slight distraction, especially if Drunken Histories is playing, which we can’t peel our eyes away from.

I never know what to expect with what will be discussed during this time, for we can be really extreme and turn a simple subject like how our days were, too gay marriage, terrorism and how much my parents love The Pretenders. My brother and I will ask questions and acknowledge their undying love for this band.

Although, as my brother and I get older it’s harder to maintain this tradition every night with our jobs and studies. But nonetheless, it is definitely a place I feel safe to share my stories and opinions. I wouldn’t say that anyone is excluded, any visitors are more than welcome to join our tradition but simply for reasons such as travelling and other commitments it’s not often that we have more than us four at the table.
I find that a lot of what my brother and I bring to discuss at the table is information from social media like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. My parents are aware of the same information by watching the news on Television. I would believe that my brother and I are aware of certain trending news quicker than my parents simply due to having our news sources available 24/7. Plus, we are on our phones scrolling through these sources constantly.

Whether we get distracted by the TV or our phones, I believe that the media positively influences this ‘public sphere’ that we have created.


Mooney, C & Viskontas, I 2013, [The Simpsons], image, Mother Jones, viewed 7 April 2019, <;.


Published by Kirstywordpress

University student - Graphic design

One thought on “Discussions at the dinner table

  1. I think the idea of the public sphere being the dinner table is quite possibly the most common, yet most un-thought of public sphere by many of us. My first thoughts of my own public sphere are the discussions I have with my friends at uni while we are ‘studying’ in the library. I agree the comments section can be scary, but so can voicing your opinions aloud to those around you who you have to see regularly (almost every day in most students’ cases) if there is ever uncertainty about the reception of your opinions. It is positive to hear your public sphere is a positive one though, with your family seeming to be interested and engaged in nightly conversations.

    Liked by 1 person

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