The private sphere is the complement or opposite to the public sphere. The private sphere is a certain sector of societal life in which an individual enjoys a degree of authority, unhampered by interventions from governmental or other institutions. Examples of the private sphere are family and home. Martin Heidegger argues that it is only in the private sphere that one can be one's authentic self.
In public-sphere theory, on the bourgeois model, the private sphere is that domain of one's life in which one works for himself. In that domain, people work, exchange goods, and maintain their families; it is therefore, in that sense, separate from the rest of society.
The private sphere was long regarded as women's "proper place" whereas men were supposed to inhabit the public sphere. A distinct ideology that prescribed separate spheres for women and men emerged during the industrial revolution.
- Habermas, Jurgen; Thomas Burger trans., Frederic Lawrence Ass. (1989). The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-58108-6.
- Vickery, Amanda (1993). "Golden age to separate spheres? A review of the categories and chronology of English women's history". The Historical Journal (Cambridge University Press) 36 (2): 383–414. doi:10.1017/S0018246X9300001X.
- Tétreault, Mary Ann (2001). "Frontier Politics: Sex, Gender, and the Deconstruction of the Public Sphere". Alternatives: Global, Local, Political (SAGE Publications) 26 (1): 53–72.
- May, Ann Mari (2008). "Gender, biology, and the incontrovertible logic of choice". The 'woman question' and higher education: perspectives on gender and knowledge production in America. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-84720-401-1.
- Wells, Christopher (2009). "Separate Spheres". In Kowaleski-Wallace, Elizabeth. Encyclopedia of feminist literary theory. London, New York: Routledge. p. 519. ISBN 978-0-415-99802-4.
- Adams, Michele (2011). "Divisions of household labor". In Ritzer, George; Ryan, J. Michael. The concise encyclopedia of sociology. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 156–57. ISBN 978-1-4051-8353-6.
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