He argues that zines and the counterpublics they form offer a distinct mode of public address, and, because they are varied in tone, register, topic, and multiple voices, they are a site of democratic discourse and public participation.Most importantly, the process of making zines allows students to forge their own publics and forums.
The protesters also felt it was important to be heard because a string of conservative, university-sponsored speakers were normalizing pro-Israeli, anti-Islam, and anti-Palestinian messages.
Alexander and Jarratt found a profound disconnect between the “world of ideas” of the classroom and the “world of action” (539) in this incident.
The act is also subversive in that instead of participating in cultural consumption, the citizen bricoleur, “situated at the intersection of (certain) cultures and (certain) publics,” participates in alternative world making by “mak[ing] texts, and the worlds within which they circulate” (68).
To illustrate the citizen bricoleur, Farmer turns to a study of anarchist and punk “zines” and the rudimentary ways in which they were crafted and circulated.
In his second section, “Disciplinary Publics,” Farmer applies the understating of counterpublics to academic contexts.
He argues that in certain contexts, some academic disciplines might be defined as “disciplinary counterpublics.” A disciplinary counterpublic might emerge when members of a discipline “locate their work within the ‘groves of academe’ but who desire that their contributions not remain there” (106).Farmer describes that publics, unlike audiences, have a temporal aspect that ebb and flow as exigencies inevitably shift.With this understanding of counterpublics Farmer writes that publics“ can be discovered in some surprising places and can express a range of very different social, cultural, and political viewpoints” (21).The notion that institutional discursive spaces are closed to many, particularly women and minorities, is not new to composition.Increasingly, though, our field’s legitimate anxieties about the privatization of public life, corporate protections from public oversight, and limited forums for discussing public matters—so eloquently articulated in Nancy Welch’s —have generated a felt need for what Welch calls rhetoric from below: teaching alternative forms of public writing and activism that assert rhetorical space in a privatized and individualized society.Counterpublics, Farmer argues, are an important, and in our field overlooked, aspect of social formation and public participation.Although not prescriptive in its pedagogical suggestions, is intended to have us consider what counterpublics mean to rhetoric and writing studies, and how this can give our students a greater “understanding of what qualifies as democratic participation, of what counts as authentic public engagement, of what a provides an important juncture for the social turn and its pedagogical commitments.Farmer’s interest is not zines’ subculture status but the way in which their material production and reflexive circulation also crafts counterpublics through creating oppositional discursive space.In the second chapter of this section, Farmer makes a case for including zines and cultivating citizen bricoleurs in our classrooms.One by one the student-protesters stood, loudly declared a statement that challenged Israel’s occupation of Palestine and Oren’s involvement in Israeli military actions, and walked out.Jarratt and Alexander interviewed five of the protesters and discovered that this strategy was implemented because of the Muslim Student Union’s continued exclusion from public forums in the campus community.