Intercultural Privacy: A Nordic Perspective

  • Charles Melvin EssEmail author


I explore „intercultural privacy“ through cultural, ethical, and philosophical frameworks, beginning with primary differences in conceptions of privacy across US and Germany, and then Western and Eastern societies more broadly. These examples expose how our assumptions and practices of privacy turn centrally on our conceptions of selfhood as ranging from more individual towards more relational conceptions and emphases. Specifically, Kantian notions of (relational) autonomy undergird Western norms of equality and rights, including privacy rights, as positive goods: these are further requisite for good lives of flourishing as central goals of virtue ethics. By contrast, relational conceptions cast „privacy“ as negative (as illustrated in the Chinese Social Credit System). Recent middle ground conceptions of relational autonomy preserve these Western values, including privacy rights and virtue ethics understandings of flourishing, while incorporating the relationality fostered especially by social media. Ethical pluralism is introduced as a central concept in intercultural information ethics and thereby possible conceptions of intercultural privacy. Such pluralism conjoins shared norms, including privacy as a positive good, alongside irreducible cultural differences as the latter are understood as diverse interpretations or applications of shared norms. Examples of ethical pluralism in Scandinavian, EU, and broader East-West contexts illustrate its role in praxis – including in the EU GDPR as articulating a pluralistic intercultural privacy.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.OsloNorway

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