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The Rise and Fall of the “Private” as Part of Western Political Socialization

Andrew M. Koch, Amanda Gail Zeddy

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The private is a sphere of activity that is not subject to the regulations, control, and management by a sovereign, institutional power. This work will seek to identify some of the major historical factors affecting the balance between the public and the private in Western culture. We will examining the material conditions that gave rise to the primacy of collective power in medieval thought, through the rise of liberalism and capitalism as historical phenomena that generated support for the notion of the private,and modern liberal political culture reconstructed the notion of human subjectivity in a form that reflected the necessities of the new institutional practices as will be illustrated by the ideas of John Locke and Adam Smith. Then we will identify three forces that are eroding the liberal notion of privacy in the contemporary age: the growth of religious fundamentalism, the rise of the national security state, and the technological transformation of social, economic, life.

Keywords: Private sphere – public sphere – identity – liberal ideology – capitalism