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Boundaries of Privacy

Dialectics of Disclosure

Sandra Petronio, Irwin Altman

Publication Year: 2002

Offering a practical theory for why people make decisions about revealing and concealing private information, Boundaries of Privacy taps into everyday problems in our personal relationships, our health concerns, and our work to investigate the way we manage our private lives. Petronio argues that in addition to owning our own private information, we also take on the responsibility of guarding other people’s private information when it is put into our trust. This can often lead to betrayal, errors in judgment, deception, gossip, and privacy dilemmas. Petronio’s book serves as a guide to understanding why certain decisions about privacy succeed while others fail.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Communication Studies

Title Page

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pp. vii-ix

List of Illustrations

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pp. xi

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pp. xiii-17

... this foreword to Sandra Petronio’s book shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, when thousands of Americans and foreigners died, an estimated 10,000 children lost a parent, and thousands of family members and friends became living victims of that nightmarish day. All of our lives are now changed forever, it is said, as we in America and, ...

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pp. xvii-xix

... book presents the theory of Communication Privacy Management (CPM) to study private disclosures. CPM is considered a practical theory and is designed to provide an explanation for communicative issues about privacy that individuals face in the everyday world. The development of this theory has taken approximately 20 years. At this writing, the theory ...

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1. Overview of Communication Privacy Management

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pp. 1-36

... disclosures epitomize the paradox of managing a public persona while maintaining the dignity of one’s private life (Westin, 1970). Talking about our private feelings in public is not always easy. In fact, it is often risky because we might feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, or somehow exposed. For instance, a friend of mine recently went to the doctor complaining ...

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2. Rule Management Process 1: Privacy Rule Foundations

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pp. 37-84

... presented an overview of Communication Privacy Management, highlighting the fact that this theory depends on a rule-based management system. Thus, although boundaries provide a metaphorical structure, rules make the management process work. Accordingly, it is useful to examine the basis upon which rules are generated, developed, and the way they function to accomplish privacy management. ...

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3. Rule Management Process 2: Boundary Coordination Operations

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pp. 85-126

... theory of Communication Privacy Management is about communicative interactions specific to private information. As such, communication to others or protection from others of private information plays a significant role. Thus, when people weigh whether to reveal or conceal private information, they often consider their knowledge about possible confidants. Because ...

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4. Cases of Boundary Coordination

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pp. 127-176

... discussed in chapter 3, there are both personal and collective boundaries involved in managing private information. However, when we examine collective boundaries there are specific issues that help define coordination on the collective level. This chapter first considers the patterns that emerge when people are seeking boundary coordination. The ...

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5. Rule Management Process 3: Boundary Turbulence

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pp. 177-204

... to the complexity of boundary coordination, sometimes the process fails. When coordination becomes asynchronous, turbulence erupts, disturbing the harmony of boundary management of private information. When people are unable to collectively develop, execute, or enact rules guiding permeability, ownership, and linkages, the coordinating ...

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6. Practices and Praxis of Communication Privacy Management

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pp. 205-226

... are useful if they explain phenomena in the everyday world. Over the last few years, a number of scholars have employed Communication Privacy Management Theory in a variety of private disclosure cases. The beneficial nature of this theory is witnessed in the explanatory strength it provides these explorations. In essence, CPM is a practical theory ...


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pp. 227-256

Author Index

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pp. 257-263

Subject Index

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pp. 264-268

E-ISBN-13: 9780791487853
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791455159
Print-ISBN-10: 0791455157

Page Count: 268
Illustrations: 15 figures
Publication Year: 2002

Series Title: SUNY series in Communication Studies