The privacy phenomenon’s limits definition

  • Ju. D. Andrievska Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Keywords: privacy, publicity, boundary, individual, subject, distance, stranger, material boundaries, symbolic boundaries, norm


The notion of a boundary as a line running between the phenomena of privacy and publicity is presented by the author in this article. Publicity means the things which are always present and accessible for viewing, circulate without any restriction in the social discourse, are a field of conflicting views, mass communication and political activity, include a variety of people and are not limited to the circle of relatives or close friends. On the other hand, private is used to express human rights to personal autonomy, the rights to protection against unauthorized interference. This is a personal living space, which is structured by the individual and filled in with their own forms and manifestations of life, depending on their own interests and needs. This notion is closely related to private ownership, management, individual or group relations, self­realization, self­development, and personal interests. The notion of boundary running between the private and the public points out to the line, which shows the difference in the relations between the elements in one field and the elements in this and other field. Different types of boundaries between the private and public are analysed in the article. Material and symbolic boundaries are singled out. The material boundaries are those which are acceptable for sensory perception and physically exist to protect the private space – e.g. fences, walls, curtains, or doors. Another type of boundaries is symbolic. They are socially constructed as the borders, which in some cases duplicate the material limits. However, in most interaction situations they tend to replace them. Symbolic boundaries can be universal, being embodied in the norms and rules of conduct. If they are not followed, it causes different sanctions from the other members of society or the relevant authorities. Yet one more type of private boundaries – those set by the individual. If suprapersonal boundaries are fixed, as they are required by the majority, the personal boundaries are set by the will of the individuals and can be overlapped in the joint interaction. These boundaries can change depending on the situation and are negotiated, being a way of crossing the universal boundaries to adapt the norms to communicative situations.

Author Biography

Ju. D. Andrievska, Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine


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How to Cite
Andrievska, J. D. (2014). The privacy phenomenon’s limits definition. Scientific and Theoretical Almanac Grani, 17(8), 58-63. Retrieved from