After the Public Turn
Frank Farmer
6 x 9, 180 pages
published: 2013

ISBN 978-0-87421-913-5
paper $26.95

ISBN 978-0-87421-914-2
e-book $20.95

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Frank Farmer is an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas and recently served as chair of the MLA Division Executive Committee on Language and Society. He is the author of Saying and Silence: Listening to Composition with Bakhtin (USUP, 2001) and the editor of Landmark Essays on Bakhtin, Rhetoric, and Writing (Erlbaum, 1998).

After the Public Turn

Composition, Counterpublics, and the Citizen Bricoleur

Frank Farmer

Also by Farmer - Saying and Silence

This is the best account of the importance of public sphere theory in the field of rhetoric and composition, and, especially, of the application of the counter-discourses surrounding counterpublics and their oppositional role in the making (and remaking) of the discipline today. It will serve as a reminder that as a discipline and a practice, our field will continue to find itself having to contend with dominant public discourses, and sometimes in oppositional ways.
—Paul Butler, University of Houston

In After the Public Turn, author Frank Farmer argues that counterpublics and the people who make counterpublics—"citizen bricoleurs"—deserve a more prominent role in our scholarship and in our classrooms. Encouraging students to understand and consider resistant or oppositional discourse is a viable route toward mature participation as citizens in a democracy.

Farmer examines two very different kinds of publics, cultural and disciplinary, and discusses two counterpublics within those broad categories: zine discourses and certain academic discourses. By juxtaposing these two significantly different kinds of publics, Farmer suggests that each discursive world can be seen, in its own distinct way, as a counterpublic, an oppositional social formation that has a stake in widening or altering public life as we know it.

Drawing on major figures in rhetoric and cultural theory, Farmer builds his argument about composition teaching and its relation to the public sphere, leading to a more sophisticated understanding of public life and a deeper sense of what democratic citizenship means for our time.

Book Review Rhetoric Review Vol 33, Issue 1, 2014 / Amy J. Wan, Queens College, CUNY

Book Review taxomania! (blog) October 9, 2013 / Jason Luther