CSUSB Counterpublics Rhetorics and the Private & Public Split Discussion

Discussion on Counterpublics, Rhetorics, and the Private/Public Split

The two essays we have read in this module have focused primarily on extending the original conversations about the public sphere by focusing on “counterpublics.” These two readings have also focused greatly on how different publics, especially marginalized ones, have experienced the public sphere, how they engaged with it, and how we might reconsider the public sphere to make it a more democratic space for all voices. 

For your discussion board, please write an original post of about 250-400 words where you focus on the following: 

  • What is your definition or understanding of counterpublics? 
  • Choose one reading and explain at least one contribution that the writer makes to our understanding of the public sphere and why it matters to us. 
  • Connect the reading to either a real world situation happening now, or some aspect of your analysis of one of the case studies for the essay prompt. What does the reading help us understand about the real world event, or alternatively how does the real world event extend, complicate, or support an idea in the reading. 
  • You may also pose a question for your peers to help them engage with you. This is optional.                      
  • Reading Response for Module 
  • Respond to: Nancy Fraser’s “Rethinking the Public Sphere” or Phyllis Ryder’s “Multicultural Public Spheres.” Make sure that you respond to a different essay than the one you wrote about in your original post in the discussion board. Include the following sections.
    • What I understood:
      • In the “what I understood section” write about the concepts and ideas that you understood and explain what they mean to you. This should go beyond summarizing and include a reflection/response component. For example, if you understood that there are different ways of analyzing languages (that’s summary) you can also think about what that means to you, how you understand it (for example, you might think about scenarios where you have seen or used these concepts), and what the value of these ideas are for you and for the rest of the class.
    • Engaging with the text: 
      • This section can be used to explain what concepts you didn’t get and why. You can ask questions here and try to work out what the meaning was. If you end up understanding it after you wrote it in this section, just keep it as is.
      • You may also use this section to engage in a conversation with the reading. For example, if you disagree with a point or have seen that things have changed regarding a certain concept, please engage with the text here. 
      • You can also use this section to extend the conversation that the reading starts. For example, if you have new data or new circumstances that will take the ideas to another level. 
    • What I’m excited about:
      • In this section, explain what ideas you are excited about, interested in, or just curious about. Explain those in some detail. 
    • Style: Your reading responses should be close to a free-write but a little more formal. That is, you should write them without too much tinkering, but you should polish them (edit them) after you’re done. Write it in one sitting and then go back reread it and fix any little mistakes you catch.  Length: I estimate that each section might be around 100-200 words, so one entry should be around 300-500 words. As long as it is not under 300 words, you will receive credit for your reading response. You can quote from the essays, just make sure to include quotation marks and page numbers and be sure to do something with the quote (explain it, question it, relate to it, etc). Optional: If you’re not sure what to respond to, here are some questions to get you thinking. You are not required to answer all or any, but they may be helpful.
    1. What are counter-publics and what is their role in the public sphere? 
    2. How is the private/public divide explained or touched on in this essay?
    3. What new ideas or classifications do the authors make about the public sphere? 
    4. What is most useful about the text to our discussion in class?

reply for this classmate:

After reading the articles, my definition of understanding counterpublics is another form or strategy of public speech that is normally expected.

In the article, “Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy,” Nancy Fraser makes to our understanding the contribution of Northern American women in the public sphere. Nancy Fraser’s article states how women were not always allowed to be in the public sphere and the Northern American women did not care that they were excluded from the groups. They created their own public sphere societies. According to the article, eventually, after the North American women made their own society, women’s rights advocates won the right for women to be able to participate in the public sphere. I think this is matters now in day because it shows how these women paved way for the women of today being able to be in the public sphere. If these women would have never made their own society regardless of the bourgeois men, women might not have the privilege they do today of being in the public sphere. It is because of women who stand up against the norm, that women can do now what they once could not.

I think we can relate the idea of counterpublics to what is happening now in the real world by people thinking about topics differently. For example, the election for governor of California. This is an example of how people in the public sphere argue about what they think is right and what they think is wrong. People who wanted Governor Newsome to win think differently than the people who wanted Larry Edler to win. The article also states how after a while, the public sphere was said to not have any more gender, society, or racial exclusions, but in all reality it did. This can be related to what is happening now because some people still exclude people and treat people differently just because of their gender or the color of their skin. I do not know how America or the world, in general, would ever solve the horrible problem of people treating each other unfairly.

one more classmate:

I understand counterpublics as a natural occurrence to the public sphere. Counterpublics form an alternate space for groups/people who were left out of that initial conversation and or space. Although counterpublics aimed to give a more open and comfortable environment, it also created a reverse effect where groups formed in a greater negative space. I found the reading on Nancy Fraser to be a good connection to part of my case study analysis. The reading helped to understand easily groups with the same belief/opinion can form and bring their voice to light amongst louder public sphere conversations. For example, in my essay I plan to discuss how the #MeToo movement created a safe space for Ford to feel comfortable to reveal herself, but those against the movement attacked her the most. It created a counterpublic which ultimately functioned as a space to spread disbelief of her allegations against Kavanaugh. Also, rethinking the public sphere connects to how multifaceted a single public sphere is and that there shouldn’t always be political domination on one side or another just for a conversation to exist, yet that is what began to happen in the hearings in 2018. Republicans began to automatically gather behind Kavanaugh to show solidarity with their political party and not to mention the President at the time, Donald Trump who made it extremely clear he did not believe Ford. Fraser raises the concern in this case by saying that the public sphere does not have social equality and therefore counterpublics are created in response. The #MeToo movement became a counterpublic in the media to function as the voice behind excluded in the courtroom hearings.

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