Re: counter-discourses

Nancy Fraser has used the idea of "counter-discourses" in her essay
"Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually
Existing Democracy" (in Habermas and the Public Sphere. Ed. Craig Calhoun.
(MIT Press, 1991): 109-142) together with the notion of "counter-publics".
This idea of "counter-publics" has been developed further in several
contributions to Mike Hill and Warren Montag (eds.), _Masses, Classes and
the Public Sphere_, Verso, London, 2000. The details below are simply
copied-and-pasted from My own contribution does not discuss
counter-discourses or counter public spheres.

Editorial Reviews
>From Library Journal:
This collection explores the politics and intellectual history of Jurgen
Habermas's The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (published in
1961 in German and in 1989 in English), one of the most influential works of
postwar social science. As the editors note, Habermas "seems to have
provided 'modernity' with its most theoretically sophisticated defense." In
highlighting the emergence of civil society and a "public sphere" in
18th-century Britain, Habermas provided "a set of realistic objectives for
social reforms." But editors Hill (Whiteness: A Critical Reader) and Montag
(Bodies, Masses, Power), along with their contributors, take issue with
Habermas's conception of the public sphere as a safe environment in which
individuals can formulate their ideas and debate issues without having to
resort to force or action to advance their position. Their point is that in
the real world ideas are always linked to economic, political, and/or social
interests that embody the threat of force (even if the threat isn't always
carried out) and that Habermas is putting an ideological gloss on a system
based on coercion. While some of the contributors explore these issues by
way of historical research, others tackle Habermas's conceptual apparatus by
way of theoretical critique. The strongest chapters are those that connect
Habermas's research with the broader intellectual concerns of thinkers such
as Etienne Balibar and Michael Hardt. Hill's chapter on E.P. Thompson, Louis
Althusser, and Adam Smith is similarly strong, while Montag's "The Pressure
of the Street" is polemically charged if heavy-handed. Highly recommended
for university libraries. Kent Worcester, Marymount Manhattan Coll., NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Book Description:
Jurgen Habermas's introduction of the term "public sphere" today provides a
fundamental concept for assessing everything from intellectual debate and
"public access" criticism, to the function of race, gender and sexual
difference in contemporary civil society. As new demands have been made on
the concept, so people have refined and extended them, positing the idea of
a plurality of "counter-public spheres" and continually addressing the
philosophical concept of the public sphere itself. This book takes off from
these debates to pose fundamental questions about the function and continued
relevance of the public sphere in a range of essays from a distinguished
group of writers.

Contributors: Stanley Aronowitz, Etienne Balibar, Crystal Bartolovich, Jamie
Owen Daniel, Mike Davis, Henry A. Giroux, Michael Hardt, Mike Hill, David
McInerney, Warren Montag, You-Me Park, Ted Stolze, Raúl H. Villa, Gayle

About the Editors:
Mike Hill is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Albany, New
York, the editor of Whiteness: A Critical Reader and author of Whiteness:
Identity, Knowledge, Change. Warren Montag is Associate Professor of English
at Occidental College, Los Angeles, and the author of Bodies, Masses, Power:
Spinoza and his Contemporaries and The Unthinkable Swift.

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