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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Intimacies. This gradual shift from traditional unities to what may better be thought
of as a pluralized pastiche is accompanied by many further-linked developments.
Many, perhaps even most, of these developments are not wholly new: they are ...
Many—especially the younger generations—live their intimacies through the
media. From the first taste of breakfast TV as we wake up, through the constant
companionship of our cell phone to the last check of our e-mail before we go to
Intimacies. Globalization suggests “a runaway world becoming one place,” and it
has become one of the controversial cornerstones of contemporary social
science debates.12 Globalization has links not just to economic and market
Some of the ways I have just sketched out in which intimacies are being
reconfigured in a late modern world are manifestly new—digital, global, and
technologized intimacies, for instance. Others, such as the individualist ethic and
the impact ...
modern intimacies, for all their uncertainties, can give us a glimpse of utopia. In
other places, however, my account has suggested the darker side of late
modernity. The Marxist in me wants to condemn the power of markets and the
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8 Globalizing Intimate Citizenship
9 The Intimate Citizenship Project
Index of Names