Privacy Regulation: Culturally Universal or Culturally Specific?

Irwin Altman


Examines privacy as a generic process that occurs in all cultures but that also differs among cultures in terms of the behavioral mechanisms used to regulate desired levels of privacy. Ethnographic data are examined from a variety of cultures, particularly from societies with apparently maximum privacy and minimum privacy and from analyses of various social relationships (e.g., parents and children, in-laws, husbands and wives). It is concluded that privacy is a universal process that involves culturally unique regulatory mechanisms.


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