Publics, Politics and Power explores the emergence of new forms, sites, and practices of publicness and the implications for public services. It examines the remaking of the public in the context of new formations of the nation, where issues of migration, diversity, and faith challenge traditional forms of solidarity and citizenship. It traces the emergence of hybrid organizational forms and new strategies for governing publics and public services. It suggests some of the ways in which the public domain is being recast around notions of civil society, community, and populist participatory politics.

Re-Assembling the Nation: Difference, Diversity and ‘the People’

Re-assembling the nation: Difference, diversity and ‘the people’

In this chapter we turn to the first of the discursive chains of connection in which publicness was institutionalised – the articulation of public, people and nation. This chain of connection once located publics as national publics, sharing a common territory, culture and polity. Nations, however, have been the focus for profoundly unsettling dynamics that have called into question their unity and capacities. As a result, nations are ‘not what they used to be’ – though, as we shall see, there are doubts about whether they ever were.

We highlight several dynamics associated with the changing fortunes of the nation, all intimately related to questions of national publicness. We begin by ...

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