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Public
The name "public" originates with the Latin publicus (also poplicus), from populus, to the English word 'populace', and in general denotes some mass population ("the people") in association with some matter of common interest. So in political science and history, a public is a population of individuals in association with civic affairs, or affairs of office or state. In social psychology, marketing, and public relations, a public has a more situational definition. John Dewey defined (Dewey 1927) a public as a of who, in facing a , recognize it and organize themselves to address it. Dewey's definition of a public is thus situational: people organized about a situation. Built upon this situational definition of a public is the situational theory of publics by James E. Grunig (Grunig 1983), which talks of nonpublics (who have no problem), latent publics (who have a problem), aware publics (who recognize that they have a problem), and active publics (who do something about their problem).

Public relations theory perspectives on publics are situational, per Dewey and Grunig; mass, where a public is simply viewed as a population of individuals; agenda-building, where a public is viewed as a condition of political involvement that is not transitory; and "homo narrans", where a public is (in the words of Gabriel M. Vasquez, assistant professor in the School of Communication at the University of Houston) a collection of "individuals that develop a group consciousness around a problematic situation and act to solve the problematic situation" (Vasquez 1993, pp. 209). Public schools are often under controversy for their "agenda-building," especially in debates over whether to teach a religious or secular curriculum. The promotion of an agenda is commonplace whenever one is in a public environment, but schools have exceptional power in that regard. In the public school system, it is the responsibility of those within the system to determine what agenda is being promoted.

Samuel Mateus's 2011 paper "Public as Social Experience" considered to view the concept by an alternative point of view: the public "is neither a simple audience constituted by media consumers nor just a rational-critical agency of a Public Sphere". He argued "the concept should also be seen in the light of a publicness principle, beyond a critic and manipulative publicity (...). In accordance, the public may be regarded as the result of the social activities made by individuals sharing symbolic representations and common emotions in publicness. Seen with lower-case, the concept is a set of subjectivities who look publicly for a feeling of belonging. So, in this perspective, the public is still a fundamental notion to social life although in a different manner in comparison to 18th century Public Sphere's Public. He means above all the social textures and configurations where successive layers of social experience are built up."

The general public also sets social norms which causes people to express themselves in socially acceptable manners. Although this is present within every community, this is often especially applicable within the transgender community as they feel the need to "perform" to a certain set of expectations to be seen as their true gender.

Social publics are groups of people united by common ideas, ideology, or hobbies.

Networked publics are social publics which have been socially restructured by the networking of technologies. As such, they are simultaneously both (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined collective which consequently emerges as a result of the intersection of human persons, shared technologies, and their practices.