28 July 2022 On Privacy. A conversation with Lauren Groff

Sociological studies show that we tend to treat privacy as a primordial state. Staying within the circle of close ones, staying within the boundaries of one's own world, we see as a stage preceding any social interaction that presupposes participation in a shared space, where privacy is at least temporarily suspended in favor of involvement in public affairs. However, this is by no means self-evident, and surviving documents on customs in the most ancient times prove that the issue of privacy was dealt with in a very inconsistent manner. Certainly, the development of new technologies has made privacy a real challenge for us.

Lauren Groff's characters find themselves in situations where their privacy is violated - either by another person or even a group of people, or by an institution with which they interact. To maintain the tightness of the boundaries of their world, they must fend off impulses coming from outside. They don't always succeed in this, but even when their efforts fail, Groff's stories prove to be extremely instructive for us, as they shed light on our everyday experiences.

Why is privacy a political issue today? What impact do the social and economic conditions in which we live have on our ability to maintain privacy? How was the right to privacy regulated in the Middle Ages? How did the new media affect the well-being of people living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries? What is the relationship between landscape and the ability to seal the boundaries of one's world? Is there room for privacy in a religious form of life, and if so, who has the right to it? These are some of the questions that Lauren Groff will answer during a conversation with Grzegorz Jankowicz.