Introduction to ‘Secrecy and Transparency’

Theory, Culture and Society 28 (7-8):7-25 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This article opens a special section on the politics of opacity and openness. The rise of transparency as a political and cultural ideal has left secrecy to accumulate negative connotations. But the moral discourse that condemns secrecy and rewards transparency may cause us to misread the symbiotic relationship between these terms. After providing a historical account of transparency in public and political life, this article therefore makes the case for working with the tension between these terms rather than responding to the dyad as a choice. We need to find different ways of staying with the aporia of transparency-as-secrecy and secrecy-as-transparency. Despite common demands to support either transparency or secrecy in political and moral terms, we live with the tension between these terms and its inherent contradictions daily. The theoretical questions posed by this material reality need to be asked and responded to. This article and the special section as a whole begin such an enterprise.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,261

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

50 (#319,955)

6 months
10 (#276,350)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Conspiracy Theory: Truth Claim or Language Game?Ole Bjerg & Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen - 2017 - Theory, Culture and Society 34 (1):137-159.
Blind windows.Cadence Kinsey - 2018 - History of the Human Sciences 31 (5):154-182.
Epilogue: Publics, Hybrids, Transparency, Monsters and the Changing Landscape around Science.Stephen Turner - 2018 - In Sarah Hartley, Sujatha Raman, Alexander Smith & Brigitte Nerlich (eds.), Science and the politics of openness : Here be monsters. Manchester University Press.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Magic of Secrecy.T. M. Luhrmann - 1989 - Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 17 (2):131-165.
Culture and Anarchy.Matthew Arnold & Samuel Lipman - 1996 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 54 (4):403-404.
Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought.Joyce Brodsky - 1996 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 54 (2):185-188.

Add more references