Publics and Counterpublics

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Publics and Counterpublics revolves around a central question: What is a public?

The idea of a public is a cultural form, a kind of practical fiction, present in the modern world in a way that is very different from other or earlier societies. Like the idea of rights, or nations, or markets, it can now seem universal. But it has not always been so. Publics exist only by virtue of their imagining. They are a kind of fiction that has taken on life, and very potent life at that.

Publics have some regular properties as a form, with powerful implications for the way our social world takes shape; but much of modern life involves struggles over the nature of publics and their interrelation. There are ambiguities, even contradictions in the idea of a public. As it is extended to new contexts and media, new polities and rhetorics, its meaning can be seen to change, in ways that we have scarcely begun to appreciate.

Author: Michael Warner

Paperback Published May 2002 336 pages

“With Michael Warner’s Publics and Counterpublics, that growing discourse on what constitutes a public (and counterpublic) takes a giant step forward in a provocative collection of eight thematically linked essays that draw upon the author’s wide-ranging and cross-disciplinary knowledge.”Magill’s Literary Annual

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