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Revealing Privacy

Debating the Understandings of Privacy

Edited By Margherita Carucci

This volume explores and discusses how privacy is understood today. What is privacy? What strategies are used to achieve or to protect the individual’s privacy? How are our conceptions of privacy evolved throughout times and cultures? Given the multidimensional character of privacy, the book analyses the variety and complexity of its meanings by adopting a cross-disciplinary position. The contributions collected here approach the topic from a multiplicity of perspectives and with the support of modern critical theories in sociology, anthropology, philosophy, visual art, and media. In discussing the main questions raised by the privacy issue, the essays reveal the multifaceted aspects of human experience, which cannot be easily explored within a single framework for interpretation. This book gives the reader the opportunity to explore some of these aspects and to learn more about privacy – how important it is to us and how much we will miss it if it is neglected – and ultimately more about ourselves.


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Editor’s Introduction


The papers in this book are versions of a selected number of presentations given at the international symposium ‘Revealing Privacy: Debating Understandings of Privacy’, that was held at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in May 2011. The purpose of this symposium was to bring together a diverse group of scholars from the fields of humanities and social sciences to contribute towards and discuss how privacy is understood today. Privacy is not a new issue but it remains an enduringly problematic one. In the contemporary world the new means of communication, and the new democratisation of information flows through blogging, twitter, and social net- works, have added a distinctive and radical shift to concerns with the boundaries of privacy and its protection. The legal system has historically played a central role in the definition of privacy and its policing. Internationally we can see that different national legal frameworks for the protection of privacy have implications for its maintenance as differing state systems, and their attendant political discourses, frame the understanding and protection of the right to privacy. States and commercial enterprises, for example, increasingly have the capacity and intent to monitor a wide range of our behaviours, from health and mobility, to purchasing habits and internet behaviour. At the same time urban planning is prepared to shape our physical environment in terms of seeking to exclude some citizens and facilitate the participation of others in the interests of a mix of commercial and security rationales: increasingly public space is being...

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