Welcome to Our Private and Public Lives Blog
The Our Private and Public Lives blog is the initial effort of the Center for Inclusive Public Life to engage with and create a community that is learning and discussing inclusive public life concepts. Below you can learn more about Lucas, the founding blog host, as well as why he created this blog, and what we hope to achieve with it.
Why We Exist
This blog exists as a conversation starter with strangers who may never come together, say, over coffee, or in a classroom, to dialogue about differences in private and public life experiences. More than anything, this blog exists as an educational outlet, where we can informally share what we learn with each other.
The Private-Public Life Difference
But what exactly does it mean to say we have private and public lives?Put simply, our lives are experienced in two distinctly different social spaces; the private and the public social space. The private social space typically entails family, friends, lovers, and other deep, inter-personal relations. This is the life inside our homes or inside our friends and family’s homes. Our lives within the private social space is primarily influenced by emotional needs and wants. For example, when Suzie Q hopes that Johnny D likes her, we can say that Suzie’s desires for romantic attention and affection represent an aspect of her private life.
On the other hand, when John Doe takes the microphone at his local school board meeting to share a concern with school board members, he’s not doing it because he wants to be liked or loved. Instead, John Doe is engaging his public life, which takes place in a public social space. Our lives in public social spaces typically entail our superficial, everyday relations and experiences with the world of people who are not our friends, family, or lovers.
Metaphorically speaking, everything inside our homes constitutes our private lives and everything outside our homes constitutes our public lives.
You may ask; what about when Suzie Q hopes that Johnny D likes her, that is probably taking place in a public space, such as a school, or a coffee shop, or a public park. Wouldn’t that make the experience part of her public life? Yes and no.
The truth is, we have to tease out where the two lives blend, because they always blend. There’s no avoiding this.
What We Want to Accomplish
In order to get a better handle on it, we really have to dig in and work hard to understand the fundamental differences between our private and public lives. We have to intentionally use this knowledge to understand the implications and repercussions that emerge from the two blending, as they so often do.
We certainly hope that this blog helps clarify this over time through iterations of conversations, and the creation of a growing dialogue that we hope becomes national, and then international.
We believe our democracy and our personal relationships suffer, in part, because we lack understanding of the difference between private and public life. We particularly don’t know what good public life practices look like. Once aware of our different lives, we can begin to focus on what constitutes good public life practices. We hope we can learn this together in this blog.
Lucas Díaz is currently working on a PhD in sociology, with a focus on exclusionary, racialized, and contentious politics. He is also a creative writer, a father, an immigrant, a war veteran, a former government bureaucrat, a community organizer and trainer. If you’re interested in learning more about Lucas, click on his bio page.