There is no speech or performance addressed to a public that does not try to specify in advance, in countless highly condensed ways, the lifeworld of its circulation: not just through its discursive claims—of the kind that can be said to be oriented to understand- ing—but through the pragmatics of its speech genres, idioms, stylistic markers, address, temporality, mise en scène, citational field, interlocutory protocols, lexicon, and so on. Its circulatory fate is the realization of that world.
Public discourse says not only, “Let a public exist,” but “Let it have this character, speak this way, see the world in this way.” It then goes out in search of confirmation that such a public exists, with greater or lesser success—success being further attempts to cite, circulate, and realize the world under- standing it articulates. Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes. Put on a show and see who shows up.1
Michael Warner. (2002) ‘Publics and counterpublics (abbreviated version)’. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 88:4, 413-425 ↩