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.
For many people in the late modern world, there are decisions that can, and increasingly have to, be made about a life. I am interested in how these personal decisions connect with public debates.
Younger people can be more experimental with their sexualities. Women have gained some measure of autonomy over their bodies and their lives. Older people are living longer—even into their centenarian years—and thus face decisions about ...
The body—even the fetus—is modified both internally and externally: it is a New World and language of people as “cyborgs,” people as becoming “posthuman.” Just what does this mean—and do we really want to become post-human?
“Intimate troubles” and “choices” over a whole gallery of new “personal types”—sex addicts and compulsives and PWAs (people with AIDS), surrogate mothers and “women who love too much,” “Iron Johns” and “New Men,” as well as those ...
At the other extreme, many younger people and richer nations may find the postmodern to be more and more congenial to the organization of their lives.9 Thus, traditional intimacies are still the norm in intense communities, ...
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8 Globalizing Intimate Citizenship
9 The Intimate Citizenship Project
Index of Names