This essay has been abridged from the title essay of the volume Publics and Counterpublics, forthcoming from Zone Books. I thank the Center for Transcultural Studies. Public Culture 14(1): 49â90 Copyright Â© 2002 by Duke University Press Public Culture 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. I will return to both of these senses, but what I mainly want to clarify in this essay is a third sense of public: the kind of public that comes into being only in relation to texts and their circulationâlike the public of this essay. (Nice to have you with us, still.) The distinctions
Public Culture – Duke University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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