Edited by Emilios Christodoulidis, Ruth Dukes and Marco Goldoni
Chapter 8: Law and the public/private distinction
The public nature of modern state law determines what becomes private, how, and with what consequences. Two contrasting readings of this claim are examined. The first, drawing on Marx, is a critique which argues that the differentiation between public and private operates ideologically to legitimate exploitation. The second treats the juridical deployment of the distinction as necessary in the defence of human dignity against the operation of economic or scientific calculation. The chapter then assesses how three qualities specific to the public sphere may be seen as central to thinking relations and things in common, and in so doing, renewing the value of the public in its determination of what is deemed private and what not.
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