Communication Research Trends


About the Centre


Communication Research Trends

Centre Projects


Allied groups

Contact information


Quarterly Journal of Speech

Quarterly Journal of Speech, 88(4). (2002). ISSN 0033-5630. Published quarterly by the National Communication Association; 1765 N Street, NW; Washington, DC 20036. USA

“The Quarterly Journal of Speech seeks to publish the best in studies of rhetoric in all its forms and from diverse theoretical perspectives and methods of analysis.”

Besides a number of particular rhetorical studies, this issue addresses a debate about theory in rhetorical, built around the essay, “Publics and counterpublics” by Michael Warner (pp. 413-425). According to the introduction by Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, one occasion for the debate has been the expansion of the object of rhetorical criticism from public address to public discourse and its many objects (including various genres: “fictional, disciplinary . . . journalistic, audio-visual, architectural forms, multi-media events, spectacles and so on,” p. 410). Gaonkar continues: "The resultant “critical pluralism,” by enabling the critic to experiment with a wide range of interpretive strategies in making the object intelligible, has dramatically elevated the quality of practical criticism. On the negative side, the interpretive eclecticism, with its exclusive commitment to rendering the object intelligible, has led to the neglect of conceptual issues. The key terms in contemporary rhetorical criticism such as agency, addressivity, audience, style, figuration, judgment, decorum, prudence, text and context, intertextuality, and most important, the very idea of a “public,” remain undertheorized. (p. 411)

Warner and his commentators address themselves to clarifying and developing this situation. Three scholars comment:

  • David Wittenberg, “Going out in public: Visibility and anonymity in Michael Warner’s ‘Publics and counterpublics’” (pp. 426-433);
  • Ronald Walter Greene, “Rhetorical pedagogy as a postal system: Circulating subjects through Michael Warner’s ‘Publics and counterpublics’” (pp. 434-443);
  • Melissa Deem, “Stranger sociability, public hope, and the limits of political transformation” (pp. 444-454).