[Article] The other-publics

@ European Journal of Cultural Studies.

Or click here to read on this blog (pre-proofread version).

Print Issue coming… soon, I think?


Notably, I failed to include acknowledgments after planning to do so at the proofreading stage – perhaps because there were about 120 things to actually proofread. So here is at least an obscure, ghostly imprint in thanks to: Carolyn Marvin, José van Dijck, Deborah Lubken.



This article analyses mediated invocations of ‘the people’ or ‘the public’ in the Dreyfus Affair, and orients this historical analysis towards contemporary debates on public spheres and digital media. If the ideal Habermasian public sphere never historically existed, how did the ‘imperfect’ public spheres of the past nevertheless contribute to democratic political participation? The late 19th century is a particularly salient point of comparison, being a time of transition from one set of media technologies and notions of publics to another. Focusing on newspapers, posters and other print-based communicative practices, I identify two general and consistent modes by which the ‘other-public’ is produced: (1) the ‘other’ audience as the target of persuasion, influence and commentary, and (2) the speaker as a distinct ‘other’ from the crowd. This othering was not a pathological barrier to ‘full participation’, but a constitutive part of publicity in an age of nascent mass media.

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