Bridging the spheres: Political and personal conversation in public and private spaces

R. O. Wyatt, E. Katz, J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Citations (Scopus)


For some theorists, talk about politics is infrequent, difficult, divisive, and, to be efficacious, must proceed according to special rules in protected spaces. We, however, examined ordinary political conversation in common spaces, asking Americans how freely and how often they talked about 9 political and personal topics at home, work, civic organizations, and elsewhere. Respondents felt free to talk about all topics. Most topics were talked about most frequently at home and at work, suggesting that the electronic cottage is wired to the public sphere. Political conversation in most loci correlated significantly with opinion quality and political participation, indicating that such conversation is a vital component of actual democratic practice, despite the emphasis given to argumentation and formal deliberation by some normative theorists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-92
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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