Intimate Citizenship: Private Decisions and Public Dialogues
University of Washington Press, 2011 M10 1 - 192 pages
Solo parenting, in vitro fertilization, surrogate mothers, gay and lesbian families, cloning and the prospect of designer babies, Viagra and the morning-after pill, HIV/AIDS, the global porn industry, on-line dating services, virtual sex--whether for better of worse, our intimate lives are in the throes of dramatic change. In this thought-provoking study, sociologist Ken Plummer examines the transformations taking place in the realm of intimacy and the conflicts--the intimate troubles --to which these changes constantly give rise. In surveying the intimate possibilities now available to us and the issues swirling around them, Plummer focuses especially on the overlap of public and private. Increasingly, our most private decisions are bound up with public institutions such as legal codes, the medical system, or the media.
What impact does the increasingly public character of personal life have on our sense of ourselves and on how we view our own intimate choices? To navigate our way through a world in which people s private lives are so often subject to public scrutiny and debate, and in which the public sphere is increasingly pluralized and contested, we must broaden our understanding of what it means to be a citizen. Through the idea of "intimate citizenship," Plummer sets an important agenda for the years to come.
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If we are to believe the media pundits, every day brings its new “troubles. ... array
of “choices” in our personal life—where for many both the troubles in and the
options facing a life seem never to have been greater.1 “Intimate troubles” can
To set some of the issues forth clearly at the outset—Who would have thought at
the start of the twentieth century that by its end we would be seriously discussing
such matters as: “Intimate troubles” and “choices” around new forms of publicly ...
“Intimate troubles” and “choices” around infertility, giving birth, and “designer
babies”—struggles over the new reproductive technologies or assisted
conceptions. Here we enter into controversies around surrogate motherhood, test
-tube babies ...
“Intimate troubles” and “choices” over a whole gallery of new “personal types”—
sex addicts and compulsives and PWAs ... Here we are witnessing the
emergence of all sorts of new “private problems and public troubles” in a
relentless flow of ...
New intimate troubles bring new ethical conflicts. Doing. Intimacies. What all
these problems have in common is that they reside in what I will call the intimate
sphere. This book is broadly concerned with intimacies, a term often heard these
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8 Globalizing Intimate Citizenship
9 The Intimate Citizenship Project
Index of Names