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.
Ken Plummer has an international reputation as a distinguished scholar of social interaction and human sexuality. He is professor of sociology at the University of Essex in England, and the author of "Telling Sexual Stories, Sexual Stigma, and Documents of Life," and founding editor of the journal "Sexualities."