Making Publics: Immigrants, Regimes of Publicity and Entry to 'the Public'

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As groups struggle to gain visibility and voice in the public sphere and as new publics form, they may expand the sense of inclusiveness within a polity, but these new publics may also rub against broader, hegemonic ideals of ‘the’ public sphere. This paper utilises the concept of ‘regimes of publicity’ to explore how marginalised groups are included in the public. Regimes of publicity are the prevailing system of laws, practices, and relations that condition the qualities of a public and the ways that it is situated with respect to other publics. In exploring how publics might be formed and received, we focus on three interlinked elements of regimes of publicity—community and social norms, legitimacy, and the relations that constitute property—as they condition the strategies of activists and the resources that different agents and institutions bring to struggles over entry to the public. The argument we present highlights the ongoing nature of struggles for access to the public realm and the fragmented nature of the public.


© 2009 by Pion Ltd.

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