Anita L. Allen

in Unpopular Privacy

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780195141375
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918126 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy


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This chapter argues that states of seclusion can sometimes amount to coerced unpopular privacy, giving rise to concerns about the legitimacy. Western societies once imposed unwanted, pathological seclusion on modern women, but have moved significantly beyond the worst of the unhappy hausfrau state. Attention properly shifts to other, still highly vulnerable groups of men, women and children forced into seclusion, isolation and confinement. Government imposes unwanted seclusion on women and men who are put away because they have broken the law, gotten sick, or become insane. Unwanted seclusion, whether it is a super Max prison cell, a mental hospital or quarantine, can be lonely and isolating in ways that philosophers like on Hannah Arendt helped us understand,. It can also be cruel and inhumane in ways countless lawyers and many psychologists illuminate it. The traditional feminist critique of domestic seclusion invites the discourse of "freedom and servitude" into the assessment of unpopular seclusion of all sorts. It counsels penetrating supposed havens for signs of hell, whose tortures and violence, degree of autonomy or incessant interruption government may have the capacity and authority to abate.

Keywords: seclusion; solitude; isolation; home; flaneur; supermax; prison; public health; quarantine; panopticon; penitentiary; telemarketers; Federal Trade Commission

Chapter.  8239 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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