Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Rethinking Privacy in the Late Modernity

Erosions, Ambivalences, Performances

Date: May 11 - 13, 2006
Oranizers: Mechthild Oechsle (Bielefeld), Karin Jurczyk (München)

Privacy - as opposed to both the public sphere and paid work - is one of the fundamental elements constituting the structures and norms of modern society. Both delimitations share the same context: without the background of asymmetric gender relations and a gendered division of labour they would not exist. Privacy in its various aspects has gained a new social relevance since the 1990s and has been subjected to new investigation in a number of academic disciplines. This growing scientific interest is a response to a general deterioration of distinctions in various fields, leading to an erosion of the clear delimitations of public and private sphere, professional work and family life. Therefore, the question how these spheres are interrelated turns up in a new and quite crucial way raising further issues concerning a new concept of privacy.
The goal of this conference is to establish connections among the discourses on privacy currently underway in the various disciplines, and to use these perspectives to analyze the processes restructuring and reformulating privacy. Discussions will focus on the transformation of the private sphere and on the structural changes that are causing it. Closely related to this is the question of the positive performance of the private sphere, the value of privacy. This, both in terms of its social functions and of its normative rationales.

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