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The performance of secrecy: Domesticity and privacy in public spaces

The performance of secrecy: Domesticity and privacy in public spaces Secrecy, paradoxically, is a social fact; as such, it must be performed in order to be realized. This article is a programmatic attempt to explore the semiotics of secrecy as revealed through the interaction of architectonics, spatiality, and social interaction. Gestural secretiveness reproduces socially sanctioned patterns of concealment also embodied in the built environment; these social dimensions also inform local interpretations of legal devices designed to guarantee privacy. On the international stage, moreover, they are transformed into devices for the concealment of potential national embarrassments. As the author demonstrates using materials from Greece, Italy, and Thailand, the practical effects of secrecy — a more flexible construct than the dichotomy of public and private — are revealingly inscribed, at various concentric levels of social identification, on the material landscape of inhabited space, and represent a necessary dimension of adapting urban structures to a human scale. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique de Gruyter

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2009 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin
Subject
Part 1. Spatial practices, spatial reification, and spatial experiences
ISSN
0037-1998
eISSN
1613-3692
DOI
10.1515/semi.2009.044
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Secrecy, paradoxically, is a social fact; as such, it must be performed in order to be realized. This article is a programmatic attempt to explore the semiotics of secrecy as revealed through the interaction of architectonics, spatiality, and social interaction. Gestural secretiveness reproduces socially sanctioned patterns of concealment also embodied in the built environment; these social dimensions also inform local interpretations of legal devices designed to guarantee privacy. On the international stage, moreover, they are transformed into devices for the concealment of potential national embarrassments. As the author demonstrates using materials from Greece, Italy, and Thailand, the practical effects of secrecy — a more flexible construct than the dichotomy of public and private — are revealingly inscribed, at various concentric levels of social identification, on the material landscape of inhabited space, and represent a necessary dimension of adapting urban structures to a human scale.

Journal

Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotiquede Gruyter

Published: Jun 1, 2009

Keywords: secrecy ; spatiality ; cultural intimacy ; gesture ; architectonics ; social interaction

There are no references for this article.