Communication and the Public
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In her contribution to the Quarterly Journal of Speech’s centennial issue, “Pathologia,” Jenny Rice suggests, “pathology does not only or always reveal something broken. Rather, the experience of pathology also reminds us that rhetoric’s sensorium is working—really working” (p. 35). Yes, and in a time of pandemic turbulence, we are reminded that the sensorium of civic life works in ways that shape, even threaten, our collective modes of engagement and relationality. Rice offers “the wound” as a response to pathological publicness, noting, “I propose that we begin to theorize the wound itself as the beginning of dialogue. Only the wound can stand as pathology’s counterpart” (p. 40). Wounds focalize and materialize the pathogenic, opening up possibilities for redress while also remediating their own contaminants. Accordingly, our special issue aims to grapple with the ways contemporary publicness affects, and is affected by, civic wounds: how they are discursively produced, and productively discursive. What emergent forms of expression or composition do wounds make possible or foreclose? And, how might critical communication scholarship ad/dress the pathogenic constitution of civic wounds? Each of the essays in “Ad/Dressing Civic Wounds” thus situates particular ways in which wounds are “really working” to produce the conditions that open or foreclose possibilities in the never-finished work of finding shared grounds of togetherness we might call civic life.
Civic life; Civic wounds; COVID-19; Pathology; Publics; Woundedness
Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Communication and the Public, 5(2020-01-02),