After the Public Turn

Composition, Counterpublics, and the Citizen Bricoleur

by Frank Farmer

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Ebook Price $21.95

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"This is the best account of the importance of public sphere theory in the field of rhetoric and composition, and, especially, of the application of the counter-discourses surrounding counterpublics and their oppositional role in the making (and remaking) of the discipline today. It will serve as a reminder that as a discipline and a practice, our field will continue to find itself having to contend with dominant public discourses, and sometimes in oppositional ways."
—Paul Butler, University of Houston

"In the end, Farmer’s work reframes our own, bringing us back to the philosophical underpinnings of what it is to write and reminding us why it is so important that we shift our ideas about the purpose of writing in this moment of the public turn."

Teaching English in the Two Year College

"'Do more with less' can be the mantra of the punk, but also the bureaucratic. Yet, After the Public Turn provides us with the language and terms necessary to distinguish between them as the field continues to consider the ways making, DIY, and counterpublics can inform not only what we think and do within our respective spheres, but also how we can actually make them."

Community Literacy Journal

"A rich contribution to the discussion on college writing in the US.”


"The book is sharp, timely, and well worth the read. . . . I see the value of the book as much bigger than what we teach our students. Farmer pushes us to rethink the relationship between composition and public life. Those who want to understand how to be a citizen within the shifting landscape of global ​and digital public spheres would do well to begin with this book."


"Farmer's passionate call for engagement not only with counter-publics but with the craftiness of 'old' media cannot but inspire a teacher to push past the boundaries of traditional classroom pedagogy."
Rhetoric Society Quarterly

"Farmer’s labor here is diligent, careful, and splendid."

Rhetoric & Public Affairs


In After the Public Turn, author Frank Farmer argues that counterpublics and the people who make counterpublics—"citizen bricoleurs"—deserve a more prominent role in our scholarship and in our classrooms. Encouraging students to understand and consider resistant or oppositional discourse is a viable route toward mature participation as citizens in a democracy.

Farmer examines two very different kinds of publics, cultural and disciplinary, and discusses two counterpublics within those broad categories: zine discourses and certain academic discourses. By juxtaposing these two significantly different kinds of publics, Farmer suggests that each discursive world can be seen, in its own distinct way, as a counterpublic, an oppositional social formation that has a stake in widening or altering public life as we know it.

Drawing on major figures in rhetoric and cultural theory, Farmer builds his argument about composition teaching and its relation to the public sphere, leading to a more sophisticated understanding of public life and a deeper sense of what democratic citizenship means for our time.


Rhetoric Review Vol. 33, No. 1 by Amy J. Wan

Literacy in Composition Studies


Frank Farmer is professor of English at the University of Kansas and recently served as chair of the MLA Division Executive Committee on Language and Society. He is the author of Saying and Silence: Listening to Composition with Bakhtin and After the Public Turn: Composition, Counterpublics, and the Citizen BricoleurComposition, Counterpublics, and the Citizen Bricoleur (USUP) and the editor of Landmark Essays on Bakhtin, Rhetoric, and Writing (Erlbaum).

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  • Paperback Price: $27.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87421-913-5
  • Ebook Price: $21.95
  • EISBN: 978-0-87421-914-2
  • Publication Year: 2013
  • Pages: 180
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by Frank Farmer
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87421-913-5
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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