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The Masquerade of Life, Our Many Selves and Issues of Privacy

Authors: Karen Armstrong


This paper explores the importance of privacy in a contemporary online world. Crucial to the discussion is the idea of the Lacanian postmodern fragmented self and the problem of how to ensure that we have room to fully explore various aspects of our personalities in an environment which is–or at least feels--safe and free from observation by others. The paper begins with an exploration of the idea of the self with particular regard to the ways in which contemporary life and technology seems to have multiplied the various faces or masks which we present in different contexts. A brief history of privacy and surveillance follows. Finally, the paper ends with an affirmation of the importance of private space as an essential component of our spiritual and emotional well-being in today-s wired world.

Keywords: Lacan, panopticon, postmodern, privacy, surveillance.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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