The Publicization of Public Space

Abstract : In this article, we start by jointly examining the shortcomings contained in the substantial definitions of publicity commonly applied to the analysis of both public spaces (physical) and public spheres (political). We propose instead to consider publicity as a potential and publicization as a process, observable both in urban spaces and in the media. Building on John Dewey, we argue that when this process reaches its logical end, it determines and brings together a problem, a place, a sphere and a group of people that it makes public. It also leads to mechanisms of political action that constitute the ends of public space. Using the example of New Orleans post Katrina, we illustrate this process by discussing three obstacles that often stall or reverse publicization processes, which we believe deserve further study. Finally, we ground the values on which the process of publicization rests on the shared experience of trouble in potentially public spaces. This pragmatists approach opens the door to the study of publicization processes and public spaces beyond western cultures, and suggests an empirical way to deepen and reassess liberal conceptions of public space.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 20, 2017 - 7:24:56 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 3:09:58 PM

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Cédric Terzi, Stéphane Tonnelat. The Publicization of Public Space. Environment and Planning A, SAGE Publications, 2017, 49 (3), pp.519--536. ⟨10.1177/0308518X16665359⟩. ⟨hal-01640732⟩

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