- Introduction: The Transparency Issue
- Cultural Studies, Critical Methodologies
- Volume | Issue number
- 14 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
Besides giving an overview on the individual contributions, this introduction to the special issue on transparency delineates a conceptual context for a critical analysis of the contemporary discourse on transparency and the media mechanisms related to it. It focuses on three ambivalences inherent to transparency: (a) The Enlightenment and modernity promise transparency and at the same time produce a structural complexity undermining all simple endeavors to make things visible. (b) Transparency, therefore, is never given but is based on artificial representational and mediatic strategies; the processes of mediation, however, applied to produce and display transparency, attract suspicion for being selective and manipulative. (c) Transparency is often equated with the possibility of a critical public while the practice of critique (according to scholars as different as Latour, Serres, Rancière, and Boltanski) has become toothless in its redundant claim to disclose what other people do not see. Instead of just ridiculing the notion of transparency, we argue in conclusion that any call for transparency should always be accompanied with a careful examination and possible contention of why to disclose this (and not something else) and why with these tools (and not others).
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