Last year's impeachment of President Bill Clinton demonstrated a paradox without explaining it. How is it that "private matters" are analysed endlessly and daily in public forums? Why is it assumed that "getting a life" means having a private relationship? Intended to unravel some of the tangled relations that fall under the broad category of "intimacy", this provocative collection articulates the ways in which intimate lives are connected with institutions, ideologies and desires. Locating its domain in the familiar spaces of friendship, love, sex, family and feeling "at home", "Intimacy" also examines the estrangement, betrayal, loneliness and even violence that may accompany the demise of relationships, both personal and political. These include intimacies among strangers, which can happen in times of national scandal or habits of everyday life. The contributors to this volume traverse many disciplines and cultures, tracking the processes by which intimate lives absorb and repel the dominant rhetoric, law, ethics and ideologies of public spheres.
Drawing on examples from contemporary culture, history, art, literature and music, the contributors illuminate ways in which intimacy has become linked with stories of citizenship, capitalism, aesthetic forms and the writing of history.