Loughborough University
sluice-10.11770163443711436357.pdf (147.99 kB)

The 'sluice-gate' public sphere and the national DNA database in the UK

Download (147.99 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2013-10-16, 08:54 authored by John DowneyJohn Downey, Mike Stephens, Jan Flaherty
Habermas’s amendments to his original public sphere thesis have been recognized by a number of media scholars in recent years. His original thesis of a decline or refeudalization of the public sphere where politics is played out in front of the public has been modified, under the influence of Bernhard Peters’ work, to incorporate the possibility of action from the periphery of the public sphere influencing, if not exclusively determining, decisions made at the administrative core via sluice-gates. There has been limited work, however, on exploring the operation of the sluices in greater detail, and particularly on the role of the mass media in acting as a communication channel between peripheral publics and core elites. The purpose of this article is to do so via a case study of the mass media public debate in the UK about the existence and extent of the national DNA database as it is a prima facie candidate for observing the operation of the sluice-gates.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


DOWNEY, J., STEPHENS, M. and FLAHERTY, J., 2012. The 'sluice-gate' public sphere and the national DNA database in the UK. Media, Culture and Society, 34 (4), pp. 439 - 456.


SAGE Publications © The Author(s)


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date



This article was published in the journal, Media, Culture and Society [SAGE Publications © The Author(s)] and the definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0163443711436357




  • en