Firmin DeBrabander, "Life after Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society" (Cambridge UP, 2020)


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As governments and corporations mine our “entrenched culture of sharing” to invade privacy (down to Target creating an algorithm to figure out which shoppers are in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy) what happens to democracy? Can democracy survive with no (or very little privacy)? What if the citizenry cares little about privacy and or is unwilling to protect it? If surveillance is here to stay what are the prospects for individual autonomy? citizenship? democratic discussion and deliberation? Life after Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society (Cambridge UP, 2020) argues that we should not focus on protecting individual privacy; privacy is NOT “our best hope” for ensuring a “democratic future.” Instead, we should channel Hannah Arendt and focus on the public realm and how it supports political freedom.

Dr. Firmin DeBrabander is a Professor of Philosophy at Maryland Institute College of Art and the author of two previous books: Do Guns Make Us Free?: Democracy and the Armed Society (Yale University Press, 2015), and Spinoza and the Stoics: Power, Politics and the Passions (Bloomsbury Press, 2007). He writes social and political commentary for the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Salon, The Atlantic and The New Republic.

Daniella Campos assisted with this podcast.

Susan Liebell is Dirk Warren '50 Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

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