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Can Solitude be Recaptured for the Sake of Intimacy?

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Abstract

This paper deals with one particular aspect of personal life in late modernity: the devaluation of “solitude.”1 It seeks the explanation for a dramatically expanding phenomenon: people’s willing exposure of some of the most intimate aspects of their lives to total strangers. This search leads to an investigation of two recent cultural trends: the striving for “visibility” and “connectedness” (or “connectivity”). These concepts are analyzed in some detail and illustrated with a few empirical examples. I argue that they transform what has been previously understood as “personal relationship” into that of “connectivity” and reduce the meaning of the “public” to “publicity.” I suggest further that when connectivity and visibility become dominant, the space for solitude narrows. Thus, the argument will progress to a brief elaboration of the concept of solitude and its importance for relationships of intimacy. Solitude is not loneliness and it is not isolation, it does not cut persons off from the outside world. Rather, it is a shelter from external noise in which reflection and self-reflection become truly possible, autonomy gains its meaning, and relationships can flourish. Solitude, I argue, empowers people to face the world on their own terms.

Keywords

  • Public Sphere
  • Private Sphere
  • Social Validation
  • Late Modernity
  • Virtual Connection

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Markus, M.R. (2010). Can Solitude be Recaptured for the Sake of Intimacy?. In: Blatterer, H., Johnson, P., Markus, M.R. (eds) Modern Privacy. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230290679_7

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