Long, Christopher P. “A Fissure in the Distinction: Hannah Arendt, The Family and the Public/Private Dichotomy,” Philosophy and Social Criticism 24, 5 (1998): 85-104.

By way of an analysis of Arendt’s defense of the public/private distinction in The Human Condition, this essay attempts to offer a re-interpretation of the status of the family as a realm where the categories of action and speech play a vital role. The traditional criteria for the establishment of the public/private distinction is grounded in an idealization of the family as a sphere where a unity of interests destroys the conditions for the categories of action and speech. This essay takes issue with this assumption and argues that the traditional conception has had a pernicious effect not only on women, but on men as well. This argument is supported by locating a fissure in Arendt’s analysis of this distinction which suggests a profound structural affinity between the public realm and the family.

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  • Public Writing | Christopher P. Long

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