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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Here in the public domain of television, day after day the personal problems of
late modernity are enacted in myriad ways ... more and more people to ask: How
do we live—and how should we live—our lives in an emerging late modern world
Intimacies in the modern world are thus subject to contradictory tendencies. Late
modern (or postmodern) intimacies incorporate the latter stages of the above,
with newer possibilities grafted onto the old in a high-tech global world. We are
Of course, change is a feature of all societies, but I have been hinting that the
changes the late modern world is experiencing are having striking consequences
for the intimate life. The examples I provided at the start of this chapter to some ...
should we conduct our personal life in a late modern world, a life that can
embrace aspects of tradition, the modern, and the postmodern? How can we find
some sense of the universal, however limited, among all the pluralization,
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8 Globalizing Intimate Citizenship
9 The Intimate Citizenship Project
Index of Names