The Public Metonym

P.A. Cramer
2004 Informal Logic  
One of the central critiques of the bourgeois conception of public holds that, in its implicit claim to universality, it fails to account for the material particularities of social groups and for the variety of possible rationalities. Some theorists have aimed to solve this problem by describing particular publics and particular rationalities based on racial, ethnic, gender, or political identities. While particularist public models represent difference in protest of the totalizing and
more » ... lizing and counterfactual valence of a bourgeois conceptualization of public, they fail to acknowledge that glossing difference is fundamental to the function of and the authorizing power of public, as it is marshalled by speakers. By analogizing Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca's universal audience with public, this paper (a) introduces the public metonym, a rhetorically productive counterfactual totality that glosses the material particularities of social groups, (b) critiques the particularist approach to the paradox of public, (c) introduces the resistance metonym as a rhetorically-minded alternative, and (d) clarifies distinctions among projects that claim to address a common object called pUblic.
doi:10.22329/il.v23i2.2166 fatcat:7gybda7uczho5ecfkpta2pkxn4