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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... about whether and how to live alone. We are able to construct new sexual
identities—from transgendered and queer to polyamorous and bisexual. Test-
tube babies and “designer children,” elective plastic surgery, cybersex and safer
Of course, while some of these concerns do seem genuinely new—those linked
to modern reproductive technologies or cybersex, for example— many of them
have long and tangled roots in the past. The new is often not as new as welike to
Thus we have cyberporn, cyber-stalking, cyber-rape, cybervictims, cybersex,
cyber-voyeurism, tele-operated compu-sex, ... This cybersexual smorgasbord has
led to a major battle over the First Amendment, with those who support the
In fact, the cybersex industry meets all the criteria for McDonaldization— it's
rational, calculable, e‹cient, and predictable.) And on top of all that are assorted “
live sex acts,” from Web-cam voyeurism and telephone sex through numerous ...
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8 Globalizing Intimate Citizenship
9 The Intimate Citizenship Project
Index of Names