Policy Press

Rethinking the public

Innovations in research, theory and politics

Edited by Nick Mahony, Janet Newman and Clive Barnett


Jun 16, 2010

Page count

188 pages




240 x 172 mm


Policy Press
Rethinking the public

This book rethinks the public, public communication and public action in a globalising and mediated world. It develops novel theoretical perspectives for investigating the formation of publics, focusing on four overlapping processes: claiming publics; personalising publics; mediating publics; and becoming public.

Using fascinating case studies, Rethinking the public offers a rich set of methodological resources on which other researchers can draw and foregrounds the need to interrogate the boundaries between theory, research and politics. It is ideal reading for higher level undergraduate and masters programmes in politics, geography, public policy, sociology, social policy, public administration and cultural studies.

"This fascinating book presents a series of theoretically innovative case studies examining the processes of personalizing, claiming, mediating and belonging through which publics come to be known in particular forms. It very convincingly demonstrates that publics are not pre-existing political subjects, and will be an invaluable resource for scholars researching new political formations in topical fields." Wendy Larner, Professor of Human Geography and Sociology, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol

"This excellent collection fills a very important gap by providing examples to those starting out on research on how to link theory and empirical work in highly topical areas." Morag McDermont, Senior Lecturer in the School of Law and Programme Director, MSc Socio-Legal Studies, University of Bristol

Nick Mahony is an ESRC Post-doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance at The Open University.

Janet Newman is a Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Publics Research Programme within the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance at The Open University.

Clive Barnett is Reader in Human Geography at The Open University.

Introduction: Rethinking the public ~ Nick Mahony, Janet Newman and Clive Barnett; Mediating the publics of public participation experiments ~ Nick Mahony; Going public? Articulations of the personal and political on Mumsnet.com ~ Richenda Gambles; Digitising and visualising: old media, new media and the pursuit of emerging urban publics ~ Scott Rodgers; Mediating publics in colonial Delhi ~ Gurpreet Bhasin; Public and private on the housing estate: small community groups, activism and local officials ~ Eleanor Jupp; Whose education? Disentangling publics, persons and citizens ~ Jessica Pykett; Fishing for the public interest: making and representing publics in North Sea fisheries governance reforms ~ Liza Griffin; De-naming the beast: the global call to action against poverty and its multiple forms of publicness ~ Clive Gabay; Paradoxical publicness: becoming-imperceptible with the Brazilian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement ~ J. Simon Hutta; Conclusion: emergent publics ~ Nick Mahony, Janet Newman and Clive Barnett.