Mediating the publics of public participation experiments

Mahony, Nick (2010). Mediating the publics of public participation experiments. In: Mahony, Nick; Newman, Janet and Barnett, Clive eds. Rethinking the Public: Innovations in Research, Theory and Politics. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 15–28.




This chapter explores how the publics of contemporary participative experiments are engaged and enrolled into forms of public action. To do this the chapter reflects on and compares a local governmental, a social movement and a popular media event. Rather than assuming that the publics of these participative experiments already existed, the chapter considers the range of ways that these publics were convened and how these publics interacted in these settings. It shows how the apparently 'new' publics of these experiments were called up by invoking various pre-existing norms of public action and begins to consider how these mediated forms of public action might be conceptualised.

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