Privacy is typically conceived, in both scholarly and popular circles, as an individual good. This weakens the potential for understanding the social implications of changes in privacy and may contribute to the topic s marginal position within sociology. While not explicitly known for their conclusions about privacy, some of the discipline s classic figures have addressed, in a variety of ways, the relevance of privacy for social life. I highlight their work, neglected in privacy discourse and not well known within sociology, to demonstrate the sociological relevance of privacy for individual development, group solidarity, stratification, and social control.
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