Communities versus Publics

Project Coordinator: Assoc Prof Greg Noble and Assoc Prof Gay Hawkins

The Communities versus Publics workshop is an activity that has been discussed at Cultural Histories and Geographies/Cultural Identities and Communities roundtables in 2005 and 2006 and attracted a lot of interest. It weaves together many shared interests amongst CRN participants – cultural diversity, media and the public sphere, everyday life, and so on.

There have been longstanding debates around the notion of ‘community’ in the analysis forms of social life and connection. While the term has still a lot of purchase in popular discourse, in academic circles a stringent critique of the notion has seen it fall out of theoretical favour. Some scholars, particularly in media studies, have turned to the work of people like Warner who has provided a different language around notions of public s and counter-publics. At the same time, there has been renewed interest in notions of community life which attempt to address many of the conceptual concerns. While this has often been a theoretical debate it has implications for applied research which seeks to connect with policy and local practices, especially in a context where social capital, capacity building and social cohesion have become governmental concerns.

Project Activities

Communities versus Publics Workshop
May 2008