Dimensionalizing privacy to advance the study of digital disempowerment

Kelly Quinn*, Dmitry Epstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


In this essay, we call attention to privacy as the foundational construct that underpins digital disempowerment. We argue that to better understand the processes of disempowerment, scholars must critically engage with the dimensionality of privacy conceptualizations and privacy-dependent constructs such as privacy concerns and privacy-protecting behavior, and the way in which these are measured. We focus on privacy's horizontal and vertical dimensions as a way to offer a more nuanced understanding of power in computationally mediated environments and potentially enable a more refined and meaningful understanding of privacy resignation and disengagement.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalBig Data and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Privacy conceptualization
  • digital disempowerment
  • digital resignation
  • institutional privacy
  • privacy dimensionality
  • social privacy


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