The Sociology of Publics
In this course, we will analyze the question of public life from a variety of distinct sociological perspectives. We will start with the analysis of the structural transformation of the public sphere toward the analysis of the making of publics and spheres of publics. We will move from a consideration of the public as a specific site for rational deliberation, toward the analysis of other key cultural forms of public action: appearance, display, embodiment, contestation, competition and other forms of political participation, constituted through a variety of different media. This analysis will then be applied to a comparative examination of the mediated social interactions in social movements and institutions, addressing such issues as: race, ethnicity and nation, human rights, the questions of war and peace, social traditions and collective memory, and social justice and economic life.