Participants: Mike, Hillary, Adam

Part 1
1) Review the annotated bibliography for Asen’s and Brouwer’s “Recognfiguring the Public Sphere.” Revise for clarity and effectiveness.

Taken from Ully’s Daily Log

Asen, Robert & Brouwer, Daniel C. “Introduction: Reconfiguration of the Public Sphere.” Counterpublics and the State. Ed. Robert Asen & Daniel C. Brouwer. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2001. 1-27

In the introduction, Asen and Brouwer identify and explicate the important developments in public sphere theory, moving away from the bourgeois public sphere to the move toward multiplicity of the public sphere, the move to loosen borders and appreciate the permeability of borders, and the move to reconsider separations between states and publics (p.6). What “counter” about counterpublics for them lies in the group identity of counterpublic agents and in topics that have been introduced into wider public agendas through counterpublicity (p.8-9). “Counterpublics often encounter the state as one of their wider and most important publics. They approach the state in the form of social movement protest, demonstrations, demands for greater participation, or all of these. States themselves often express interest in counterpublics…. Whether episodically or enduringly, openly or secretly, counterpublics and states encounter each other in complex, multiform relations” (p.18).
Keywords: public sphere, counterpublics

We propose the following changes:
  1. First sentence: “reconsider separations…” Instead of phrasing this as separations, we would phrase it as reconsidering the relationship between states and publics (they aren’t necessarily separated, Schudson for example views the state as part of the public at large)
  2. Incorporation of names: Habermas (bourgeois public sphere), Dewey (sphere as phenomenon), Fraser, Schudson, etc…
  3. Discussion of New Communication Technologies and globalization (p.21-24)

2) Which (whose) definitions of public(s) and counterpublic(s) do they rely on. What do they have to say about “private” and “privacy?” What questions/concerns underscore Asen and Brouwer’s understanding and interrogation of publics and counterpublics?

Whose definitions?
  1. Habermas: the emergence in civil society of a realm in which citizens came together as private persons to form a public that, acting in an advisory capacity, debated the activities of the state (p. 4)
  2. Dewey: an ephemeral phenomenon built through collective perception (p. 1)
  3. Felski: critical oppositional forces that seek to disrupt the homogenizing and universalizing processes of a global mass-communication culture that promotes an uncritical consumerism (p.7)
  4. Fraser: parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counterdiscourses to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and needs (p.7)

Meanings of Public (p.9)
  1. Public as something potentially open to all
  2. Potentially concerning all
  3. Potentially known to all
  4. Potentially constituted by all
  5. Potential movement toward all

Believe scholars should be focused on (p.10): the contingent, particular constructions of counter entered into by participants in the public sphere
(how you define public, as a scholar, is contextual)

(p.13) “Public “and “consensus” need not be set against “private” and “dissent”

(p.10-11) Using privacy as a discursive strategy (Clinton example)

(p.10) “Public” and “private” emerge in social action and dialogue even as collectively held conceptions of each shape the conditions of their emergence

(p.11) controversies turn in significant respects on how participants draw lines of public and private

Questions/concerns (of the authors')

  1. How do NCTs and conflicted encounters shaped publics, counterpublics, the state, etc…?
  2. What is “counter” about counterpublics?
  3. How autonomous is the public from the state? Is the state part of the public?
  4. Can we even talk about publics and counterpublics without reference to the state? (p.22)
  5. What is to be gained from counterpublics’ appeal to global, not state, audiences? (p.22)

Part 2
Review the four major characteristics of vernacular rhetoric (Hauser and mc clellan 30), and three defining characteristics for those who identify with resistors (Hauser and mc clellan 36-38). In your groups, look for images, quotes, media framing, and the like, that illustrates the vernacular quality of the “Occupy” campaigns that are spreading around the nation (in terms of agency, strategies, confrontational nature, etc).

Polyvocality: look at all the signs!
The “everyday” conversations going on not directly in the face of authority. Also think of youtube (challenging media framing), blogs, etc…



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