The Origins of Modern Privacy

  • Chris Berg
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism book series (PASTCL)


This chapter considers the origins of privacy in the early modern era. It contrasts an earlier historical consensus around the early modern development of individualism, home privacy, and interiority with recent scholarship that argues these ‘modern’ notions of privacy were both more ambiguous and came later. Rather than focusing on the growth of individualism as a basis for privacy, the chapter looks at the creation of the unitary nuclear family. In the early modern era families became more concrete and private. Yet the removal of family life from social observation also meant that subjugation within the family—such as that defined by the ‘separate spheres’ doctrine—could result in undesired privacy, particularly for women.


Early Modern householdHousehold homeHome homesHome Great Rebuilding 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Berg
    • 1
  1. 1.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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