Eavesdropping by John L. Locke
An Intimate History

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That eavesdropping has meaning, value and even a history is the premise of linguistics professor John Locke’s intermittently compelling study of the topic. Drawing on psychological, anthropological and animal behaviour studies, he argues that eavesdropping should be seen as an important adaptive strategy...
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Synopsis

Why we can't resist listening in on our neighbours

Eavesdropping has a bad name. It is a form of human communication in which the information gained is stolen, and where such words as cheating and spying come into play. But eavesdropping may also be an attempt to understand what goes on in the lives of others so as to know better how to live one's own. John Locke's entertaining and disturbing account explores everything from sixteenth-century voyeurism to Hitchcock's 'Rear Window'; from chimpanzee behaviour to Parisian café society; from
private eyes to Facebook and Twitter. He uncovers the biological drive behind the behaviour, and its consequences across history and cultures. In the age of CCTV, phone tapping, and computer hacking, this is uncomfortably important reading.
 

About John L. Locke

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John L. Locke is currently professor of linguistics at Lehman College, City University of New York. He did graduate work in communication sciences and disorders at Ohio University and received postdoctoral training in linguistics, psychology, and anthropology at Yale University and Oxford. He has published more than one hundred articles, chapters, and books, including The De-Voicing of Society (1998) and Eavesdropping: An Intimate History (2010).
 
Published June 24, 2010 by OUP Oxford. 277 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
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National Post arts

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Reviewed by Sukhdev Sandhu on Aug 19 2010

That eavesdropping has meaning, value and even a history is the premise of linguistics professor John Locke’s intermittently compelling study of the topic. Drawing on psychological, anthropological and animal behaviour studies, he argues that eavesdropping should be seen as an important adaptive strategy...

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