Publics and Counterpublics

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Overview

Most of the people around us belong to our world not directly, as kin or comrades,but as strangers. How do we recognize them as members of our world? We are related to them as transient participants in common publics. Indeed, most of us would find it nearly impossible to imagine a social world without publics. In the eight essays in this book, Michael Warner addresses the question: What is a public? According to Warner, the idea of a public is one of the central fictions of modern life. Publics have powerful implications for how our social world takes shape,and much of modern life involves struggles over the nature of publics and their interrelations. The idea of a public contains ambiguities, even contradictions. As it is extended to new contexts,politics, and media, its meaning changes in ways that can be difficult to uncover.Combining historical analysis, theoretical reflection, and extensive case studies, Warner shows how the idea of a public can reframe our understanding of contemporary literary works and politics and of our social world in general. In particular, he applies the idea of a public to the junction of two intellectual traditions: public-sphere theory and queer theory.

Zone Books

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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." Chuck Berg Magill's Literary Annual

Zone Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890951290
  • Publisher: Zone Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Pages: 334
  • Sales rank: 912,628
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Warner is Professor of English at Rutgers University. He is the author of TheTrouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life and The Letters of the Republic: Publication and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 7
I Public and Private 21
II Publics and Counterpublics 65
III Styles of Intellectual Publics 125
IV The Mass Public and the Mass Subject 159
V Sex in Public 187
VI Something Queer About the Nation-State 209
VII A Soliloquy "Lately Spoken at the African Theatre": Race and the Public Sphere in New York City, 1821 225
VIII Whitman Drunk 269
Notes 291
Index 331
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