Recent protests around the world (such as the Arab Spring uprisings and Occupy Wall Street movements) have drawn renewed interest to the study of social change and, especially, to the manner in which words, images, events, and ideas associated with protestors can “move the social.” What Democracy Looks Like is an attempt to foster a more coherent understanding of social change amoung scholars of rhetoric and communication studies by juxtaposing the ideas of social movements and counterpublics—historically two key factors significant in the study of social change. Foust, Pason, and Zittlow Rogness’s volume compiles the voices of leading and new scholars who are contributing to the history, application, and new directions of these two concepts, all in conversation with a number of acts of resistance or social change.

The theories of social movements and counterpublics are related but distinct. Social movement theories tend to be concerned with enacting policy and legislative changes. Scholars flying this flag have concentrated on the organization and language (for example, rallies and speeches) that are meant to enact social change. Counterpublic theory, on the other hand, focuses less on policy changes and more on the unequal distribution of power and resources among different protest groups, which is sometimes synonymous with subordinated identity groups such as race, gender, sexuality, and class. Nonetheless, contributors argue that in recent years the distinctions between these two methods have become less evident. By putting the literatures of the two theories in conversation with one another, these scholars seek to promote and imagine social change outside the typical binaries.

Christina R. Foust
is an associate professor and chair of communication studies at the University of Denver and is the author of Transgression as a Mode of Resistance.

Amy Pason is an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her work has appeared in the International Journal of Communication and ephemera.

Kate Zittlow Rogness teaches at Hamline University. Her work has appeared in First Amendment Studies and the Western Journal of Communication.

What Democracy Looks Like enables a kind of time travel by presenting for contemporary scholars a legacy of movement studies that may have been forgotten or ignored. Continuing through the present, the contributors present innovative studies that promise a bright future for scholarship on these topics.”
—Robert Asen, author of Democracy, Deliberation, and Education

“This collection, featuring prominent authors in the field, usefully puts literatures in the areas of social movement and counterpublic studies (with its unique focus on circulation) in conversation with one another. This work is urgently needed as we try to understand not only how movement participants are working but also to articulate new ways of being in the world.”
—Dana L. Cloud, author of Control and Consolation in American Culture and Politics: Rhetorics of Therapy

Daniel C. Brouwer / Elizabeth Brunner / Bernadette Marie Calafell / Catherine Chaput / Karma R. Chávez / Kevin Michael DeLuca / Christina R. Foust / Joshua S. Hanan / Kelsey Harr-Lagin / Dawn Marie D. McIntosh / Raymie E. McKerrow / Catherine Helen Palczewski / Amy Pason / Mary-Louise Paulesc / Kate Zittlow Rogness

Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique
John Louis Lucaites, series editor

296 pages / 3 B&W figures
ISBN: 978-0-8173-5893-8 Paper
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9118-8 Ebook