Theory, Culture and Society 20 (3):107-125 (2003)

Most conceptions of public and private life within political and social theory do not adequately consider the networks or fluidities involved in contemporary social relations. The distinction of public and private is often conceived of as statically `regional' in character. This article, following an extensive analysis of the multiple meanings of the `public' and `private', criticizes such a static conception and maintains that massive changes are occurring in the nature of both public and private life and especially of the relations between them. We consider flows and networks that enable mobility between and across apparent publics and privates. These mobilities are both physical and informational. We consider the transformations of public and private life that have arisen from `complex' configurations of place and space: the dominant system of car-centred automobility whose spatial fluidities are simultaneously private and public; and various globalizations through the exposure of `private' lives on public screens and the public screening of mediatized events. These mobile, machinic examples demonstrate the limitations of the static, regional conceptualizations of public and private life developed within much social and political theory, and suggest that this divide may need relegation to the dustbin of history.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/02632764030203007
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,634
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Publics in History.Mustafa Emirbayer & Mimi Sheller - 2004 - Theory and Society 28 (1):143-197.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Shifting Boundaries of Public and Private Life.John B. Thompson - 2011 - Theory, Culture and Society 28 (4):49-70.
Automotive Emotions.Mimi Sheller - 2004 - Theory, Culture and Society 21 (4-5):221-242.
Privacy and the Public/Private Dichotomy.Simon Dawes - 2011 - Thesis Eleven 107 (1):115-124.
Vertical Security in the Megacity.Peter Adey - 2010 - Theory, Culture and Society 27 (6):51-67.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Mobile Snapshots and Private/Public Boundaries.Dong-Hoo Lee - 2009 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 22 (3):161-171.
Reconsidering the Private–Public Distinction.Gurpreet Mahajan - 2009 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 12 (2):133-143.
Feminism, the Public and the Private.Joan B. Landes (ed.) - 1998 - Oxford University Press.
Private-to-Private Corruption.Antonio Argandoña - 2003 - Journal of Business Ethics 47 (3):253 - 267.
Melding the Public and Private Spheres: Taking Commmensality Seriously.Albert O. Hirschman - 1996 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 10 (4):533-550.
Private Equity and the Public Good.Kevin Morrell & Ian Clark - 2010 - Journal of Business Ethics 96 (2):249 - 263.


Added to PP index

Total views
20 ( #562,962 of 2,533,811 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #388,784 of 2,533,811 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes