Analysis of John Dewey's 1931 New Republic series on the need for a new third party demonstrates the value of paying attention to Dewey's public writings. In the four articles making up the series, Dewey shows his commitment to the construction of an “elastic” social imaginary responsive to the rhetorical needs of a public in crisis. Rather than embrace the conversational, dialogic mode he theorized in other contexts—and the mode most communication scholars associate with him—Dewey argues in the New Republic that a new third party must adopt an agonistic style of communication. Finally, in offering a prescription for how a third political party should work, Dewey describes the role of a third party in ways that might prove productive for scholars interested in exploring the intersections between third party politics and counterpublicity.
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