Books for the News, Politics and Current Events, Sociology

Christena Nippert-Eng on maintaining privacy in a more public world

In the our post-9/11 world, inundated by video surveillance, and where joining Facebook has become almost obligatory, debate about an individual’s right to privacy has begun to take center stage. While some argue that some loss of privacy is a small price to pay for our safety, and the benefits of staying connected online outweigh concerns over the use and abuse of personal information, others disagree.
Recently Christena Nippert-Eng, professor of sociology at the Illinois Institute of Technology and author of the forthcoming Islands of Privacy, made an appearance on Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight in a panel discussion addressing the topic. Listen to the archived audio on the Chicago Public Radio website.
About the book:

In Islands of Privacy, Christena Nippert-Eng gives us an intimate view into the full range of ordinary people’s sometimes extraordinary efforts to preserve the border between themselves and the rest of the world.
Packed with stories that are funny and sad, familiar and strange, Islands of Privacy tours the myriad arenas where privacy battles are fought, lost, and won. Nippert-Eng explores how we manage our secrets, our phone calls and e-mail, the perimeters of our homes, and our interactions with neighbors. She discovers that everybody practices the art of selectively concealing and disclosing information on a daily basis. This important balancing act governs a wide range of behaviors, from deciding whether to give our bosses our cell phone numbers to choosing what we carry in our wallets or purses. Violations of privacy and anxiety about how we grant it to each other also come under Nippert-Eng’s microscope as she crafts a compelling argument that successfully managing privacy is critical for successfully maintaining our relationships with each other and our selves.
Roaming from the beach to the bank and from the bathroom to the bus, Nippert-Eng’s keenly observed and vividly told book gives us the skinny on how we defend our shrinking islands of privacy in the vast ocean of accessibility that surrounds us.

Islands of Privacy will publish in September 2010.
Also see Nippert-Eng’s previous book on a related topic Home and Work: Negotiating Boundaries through Everyday Life.