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Publics vs. Counterpublics
Transcript of Publics vs. Counterpublics
an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action.
A group that deface corporate logos in order to send a different message to consumers and hurt the company
subvertising, uncovering a subliminal messages meaning for everyone to see
Quotes From Warner:
"The public is a kind of social totality. Its most common sense is that of the people in general. It might be the people organized as the nation, the commonwealth, the city, the state, or some other community. It might be very general, as in Christendom or humanity. But in each case the public, as a people, is thought to include everyone within the field in question. This sense of totality is brought out in speaking of the public, even though to speak of a national public implies that others exist; there must be as many publics as polities, but whenever one is addressed as the public, the others are assumed not to matter. A public can also be a second thing: a concrete audience, a crowd witnessing itself in visible space, as with a theatrical public. Such a public also has a sense of totality, bounded by the event or by the shared physical space."
Parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counterdiscourses, permitting them to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and needs
The problem with population majority and lack of minority representation.
It is hard to address an entire audience when the speaker comes from a certain demographic that is likely the majority and is unaware of minority issues.
"Theories of publics and counter publics remain as contested as the issues, identities, and politics they serve. Across the disciplinary spectrum, scholars turn to publics and counter publics to help elucidate problems of inclusion and exclusion, projects of social justice, and the waning promise of democratic politics."
A few thoughts from Nancy...
Frasier identified the fact that marginalized groups are excluded from a universal public sphere, and thus it was impossible to claim that one group would in fact be inclusive. However, she claimed that marginalized groups formed their own public spheres, and termed this concept a subaltern counterpublic or counterpublics.
She also said counterpublics are parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counterdiscourses, permitting them to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and needs. Nancy Fraser points out in her book about the evolving public sphere, that marginalized groups are not included in the public sphere. These marginalized groups form their own public spheres called “counterpublics.” They go out to redefine themselves in a public way, trying to express their discourses to the public, and use the media as a resource to spread their message.
“Publics have become an essential fact of the social landscape”
“People do not always distinguish between the public and a public, although in some contexts this difference can matter a great deal”
“A public can also be a second thing: a concrete audience, a crowd witnessing itself in visible space, as with a theatrical public. Such a public also has a sense of totality, bounded by the event or by the shared physical space”
“A performer on stage knows where her public is, how big it is, where its boundaries are, and what the time of its common existence is. A crowd at a sports event, a concert, or a riot might be a bit blurrier around the edges, but still knows itself by knowing where and when it is assembled in common visibility and common action”
“Counterpublics are, by definition, formed by their conflict with the norms and contexts of their cultural environment, and this context of domination inevitably entails distortion. Mass publics and counterpublics, in other words, are both damaged forms of publicness, just as gender and sexuality are, in this culture, damaged forms of privacy.”
According to Warner, counterpublics are simply publics aware of their subordinate status.
When an essay is read aloud as lecture at a university, for example, the concrete audience of hearers understands itself as standing in for a more indefinite audience of readers. And often, when a form of discourse is not addressing an institutional or subcultural audience, such as members of a profession, its audience can understand itself not just as a public but as the public