Publics and Counterpublics of Engagement

  • Adam S. Lerner
  • Pat J. Gehrke


This chapter investigates the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the idealist and cynical purposes of public engagement. Scholars in the field of public engagement with science have noted the influence these two camps have made on our modern conception of public engagement. Having laid out the basic contours of these debates we then attend to the implications of the dominant ideas of what a “public” is and how it relates to theoretical and philosophical discussions. We then turn to studies of publics, counterpublics, and vernacular rhetoric. Together these constitute a compelling case for a method of public engagement with science that engages actually existing publics as they communicate and deliberate “in the wild.”


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam S. Lerner
    • 1
  • Pat J. Gehrke
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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