A Useful Category of Transnational Analysis
This chapter explores the promise of “intimacy” as an analytical, rather than just descriptive, term for critical scholarship on globalization. More specifically, it looks at critical approaches to the political economy of intimacy—frameworks designed to understand how patterns of intimacy occur in relation to social power. To this end, the chapter considers concrete descriptions that rework received interpretations of globalization, government, capitalism, and intimacy. It presents cases in countries such as the United States, Thailand, and Australia as well as studies of transnational processes that cross countries' borders. It also examines how norms about intimacy are bound up with hierarchies of race, nation, and sexuality. Finally, it describes the rubric of “intimate economies” as a model for thinking about global intimacy in ways that avoid a topdown image of impersonal forces “penetrating” intimate life, understood as local.
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