Publics performing publics: of PiGs, PiPs and politics

Michael, Mike. 2009. Publics performing publics: of PiGs, PiPs and politics. Public Understanding of Science, 18(5), pp. 617-631. ISSN 0963-6625 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This theoretical paper considers the ways in which the "publics" of public understanding of science and public engagement with science perform themselves not only in relation to science knowledge and scientific institutions, but also in relation to other publics. Specifically, through a survey of the literature, there is an exploration of the processes of differentiation and identification amongst publics. Two broad rhetorical categories of public are identified: Publics-in-General (PiGs) and Publics-in-Particular (PiPs). The means by which they are variously differentiated, and the performative uses to which these can be put are considered. Implications for both the implementation of public engagement processes, and the critique of such engagement, are discussed.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


engagement, politics, public-in-general, public-in-particular

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]


1 September 2009Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

22 Jan 2010 10:40

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 11:12

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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