Privacy at the Margins| Understanding Privacy at the Margins—Introduction

Alice E. Marwick, danah boyd


While privacy and surveillance affect different populations in disparate ways, they are often treated as monolithic concepts by journalists, privacy advocates, and researchers. Achieving privacy is especially difficult for those who are marginalized in other areas of life. This special issue interrogates what privacy looks like at the margins, investigating a broad spectrum of issues, methodologies, and contexts. Many make an intervention into mainstream theories of privacy and surveillance, showing how examining the experiences of individuals outside the normative white, American, middle-class subject often complicates assumptions about how privacy operates. Others examine the mundane and the banal in order to analyze how power relations play out in everyday life. By incorporating research outside the canon of privacy research, and by advocating for projects that discuss more diverse conceptualizations of “the user” or the subject, we can envision a future for privacy scholarship that incorporates a wider set of harms and needs, and encompasses the concerns of a larger base of citizens.


privacy, socioeconomic status, marginalization, networked privacy

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