12/15/2022 | ITeG

New book published: "Sociology of Privacy" by Carsten Ochs

Carsten Ochs' habilitation thesis "Sociology of Privacy" ("Soziologie der Privatheit – Informationelle Teilhabebeschränkung vom Reputation Management bis zum Recht auf Unberechenbarkeit") has now been published by Velbrück Wissenschaft.

Despite all the genealogical fuzziness and normative disagreement regarding its political evaluation, the practice of distinguishing between the private and the public is not only considered a central structural principle of modernity, but also a mode of structuring that is currently socio-digitally endangered. Informational privacy, it seems, is dissolving under the onslaught of digitally networked self-constitution, ubiquitous datafication and the probabilistic prediction methods of machine learning.

But what is informational privacy all about? How can it be grasped theoretically, how can its European-American social history be reconstructed - and what happens to it under the datafied socialisation conditions of the present? Sociology has so far only found partial answers to these questions, not least because since Habermas' structural change it has primarily examined the structuring of societies with the help of the private/public distinction 'from the public side', leaving privacy all too often to normatively oriented social philosophy and the legal sciences.

This monograph closes the remaining gap in sociological theorising and research by first elaborating a social and societal theory of privacy, then transferring this to a genealogical reconstruction of the social history of informational privacy from the 18th century onwards, and finally culminating in an empirically saturated contemporary diagnosis of privacy in contemporary digital society.

(Note: the original text on the publisher's website has been translated automatically.)