How does the theory of communicative action by Habermas relate to current uses of internet?

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lprono eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Theory of Communicative Action, Habermas makes the distinction between what he calls "instrumental rationality" (sometimes also called "strategic") and "communicative rationality". As the Enotes guide on the work clarifies, the former refers to "reason geared toward self-maintenance and adaptation to a contingent environment", while the latter enables people to "reach agreement on the validity of proposed assertions". 

According to sociologist Gregor Petric, these two categories, with their respective negative and positive social outcomes, can be applied to the Internet to encourage a more sensible use of the medium. Petric argues that groups who tend to privilege strategic uses of the internet should be targeted "to encourage more socially integrative and responsible Internet use". Using Habermas's distinction, we can see and use the internet for our personal advantage only, as the ultimate form of utilitarian individualism, or as a way of recreating a sense of community and common goals.

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