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Interculturalists typically encounter the topic of privacy in two contexts. One concerns the voluntary disclosure of aspects of their personal lives. This is termed the public and private selves; it explores what people voluntarily reveal to others, to whom they reveal, and under what circumstances. The other context concerns the details about people’s identities and activities when they are involuntarily revealed to others, often to strangers; this is related to current debates about technological surveillance. However, the interculturalist’s interest is broader and more complex.

This entry describes the differences between a person’s private and public selves and the influence of culture on those differences. A discussion of privacy follows, and the ways in which the concept varies in meaning from one culture to another, based on ...

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