It is amazing what a fine line there is between being A Public and being The Public. Our discussion over Michael Warner’s piece “Publics and Counterpublics” truly emphasized how small this line really is. To review The Public is a social totality, and includes everyone within the general field of that question or thought and is brought to light through conversation. A public is more of a concrete audience in visible space in which the sense of totality, bounded by the shared space. Warner also included the other aspect of just the Public which is a community of people brought together only in relation of text and circulation and a Counterpublic which is a public that rejects an idea of being a part of a Public or something so mainstream and looks to define itself, an example of Counterpublic is Punk. What I believed to be so fascinating is the fluctuation that occurs between the sections. The Public is connected through a question, and then if this question leads to an event in which the individuals are brought to they then separate from The Public becoming A Public which is a more definable body of people, meaning that the performer or speaker knows to whom they are directly talking to. Another example of transformation is from this Counterpublic forming The Public with a similar general thought and thus slowly but surely forming into A Public as a more solid group begins to form in the physical space with a similar outlook or thought. Which then leads me to this question:
Is there really such thing as a Counterpublic if a Counterpublic can quickly and easily become a part of The Public or is it purely based on the relation with the Mainstream?