Privacy and the Politics of Intimate Life

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Cornell University Press, 1996 - Political Science - 192 pages
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Patricia Boling investigates the implications of privacy for feminist theory and legal philosophy, examining issues rooted in intimate life which have broad public impact. She draws on Hannah Arendt's work and ordinary language analysis to identify confusions in the way we think about public and private. She then uses the insights she has developed to illuminate issues in contemporary politics, such as the problem of transforming private identities into political ones in the ?outing? of lesbians and gay men. Another such issue is the relevance of the private experience of nurturing small children to the political activity of the citizen. Evenly divided between theoretical and issue-oriented discussion, this book makes clear the practical stakes in both the distinction and the connection between private and public. Boling considers how to translate private experience into public claims with regard to such contentious issues as shared parenting, abortion funding, fetal abuse, sodomy laws, and parental consent for minors seeking abortions. She also analyzes the application of privacy in landmark legal cases including Roe v. Wade, Bowers v. Hardwick, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

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Chapter One Why the Personal Is Not Always Political
Chapter Two Privation and Privilege
Chapter Three Arendt on Political Approaches to IntimateLife
Chapter Five The Democratic Potential of Mothering
The Closet
Conclusion Privacy and Democratic Citizenship

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About the author (1996)

Patricia Boling is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Purdue University. She is interested in how issues housed in the private sphere of the family get translated into negotiable political issues, and has written a book about the politics of intimate life, edited a book on new reproductive technologies, and authored various articles and chapters related to public-private distinctions in the US and in Japan. Having lived in Japan for three years, her research agenda has considered various practices that mostly occur in the intimacy of the body or family that raise issues of justice and equality both in Japan and around the world.

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