The Politics and Paradoxes of Transparency [2016-17]

Alternate Wednesdays, 12.00-14.00 during term time

Seminar SG2, Alison Richard Building


About

A new Research Group on the Politics and Paradoxes of Transparency will launch at CRASSH in 2016-17, run by Ella McPherson (Sociology) and Alfred Moore (CRASSH). The group will explore the ambivalent effects of ideals and technologies of transparency. Transparency is commonly assumed to be a good thing to which regimes, organisations, and even people should aspire. Yet it is also widely recognised that transparency can be corrosive. It seems to be both a cure for and a cause of distrust. It has been associated with ways of taming bureaucracy that themselves generate more bureaucracy. It promises immediacy in personal relations yet can generate distance. Transparency for some can create obscurity for others. Transparency is a complex conceptual compound, a response to very different problems of corruption, limited knowledge, political exclusion and governance in complex environments, each of which invokes distinct and often conflicting political goods.

While it is common to talk of new technologies heralding an ‘age of transparency’, in this research group we want to focus on particular examples of how technologies accelerate, mediate, and co-produce ideals and practices of transparency in three different areas: (i) the public sphere and the production of public knowledge, (ii) political economy and the relations between individuals and commercial actors, and (iii) the reordering of personal relations. We will ask how technologies of transparency reproduce and reorder relations of power, and how opening up institutions and practices can at the same time introduce new patterns of closure and seclusion. In each of these areas we will bring a multi-disciplinary focus on concrete examples, with the aim of developing a more precise set of research questions around the politics and paradoxes of transparency. 

The format will consist of a closed reading group, which will meet twice a term to discuss the texts of authors invited from across disciplines, as well as a one open lecture per term.  Please register your interest below to receive further information on joining the reading group as well as on the lecture schedule.
 


Please join the mailing list here to receive further information on joining the reading group as well as on the lecture schedule.
 

Administrative assistant: gradfac@crassh.cam.ac.uk

Convenors

Convenors

Dr Ella McPherson (Lecturer in the Sociology of New Media and Digital Technology, Department of Sociology)
Dr Alfred Moore (Research Fellow, CRASSH)
Dr Olivier Driessens (Department of Sociology) FI


Faculty Advisors

Professor John Naughton (Senior Research Fellow, CRASSH, Director, Press Fellowship Programme Wolfson College)
 

Programme 2016-17

Politics and Paradoxes of Transparency
The Origins and Effects of the UK Freedom of Information Act.
26 October 2016, Seminar room SG2, Alison Richard Building.

Benjamin Worthy (Birkbeck), Public Lecture [Online Registration]-at The Politics and Paradoxes of Transparency

Accountability and the State in the Age of Technology
09 November 2016, Erasmus Room at Queens' College, Silver Street, Cambridge CB3 9ET [*NB Different venue and time today]

Graham Denyer Willis (Cambridge), Ernesto Schwartz-Marin (Durham) at 2pm only today [Online Registration]- At The Politics and Paradoxes of Transparency

Fact-checking and the Production of Political Knowledge
23 November 2016, Seminar room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Tanya Filer (Cambridge), Jason Reifler (Exeter) [Online Registration] -at The Politics and Paradoxes of Transparency

Cancelled:Politics of Personalised Insurance Pricing in the Age of Wearable Devices: Big Data...
08 February 2017, Seminar room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Liz McFall (Open University), Dan Wilson (Cambridge)- at Politics & Paradoxes of Transparency

Crowdsourcing Corporate Transparency
22 February 2017, Seminar room SG2, Alison Richard Building.

Richard Mills (Cambridge), Milena Marin (Amnesty) -at Politics & Paradoxes of Transparency

Technology, Transparency, and Policing
08 March 2017, Seminar room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Barak Ariel (Cambridge), Adam Edwards (University of Cardiff)-at Politics & Paradoxes of Transparency

'Transparency' From Transgression to Common Sense -With Notes on the Role of Technology
10 March 2017, Seminar room B4. Institute of Criminology, Sidgwick Ave. NB Change of venue and time*

Public Lecture, Michael Schudson (Columbia)-at Politics & Paradoxes of Transparency. Online registration required.

Cultural History of Transparency
03 May 2017, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Reading Group at The Politics and Paradoxes of Transparency

Wearables and the Quantified Self: Transparency, Big Data and Solidarity
17 May 2017, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Reading Group at The Politics and Paradoxes of Transparency

Organizational Transparency: Practices, Governance and Trust
31 May 2017, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building *NB different date

Reading Group at The Politics and Paradoxes of Transparency

Breaking Aleppo: The Facts and Figures of the Conflict
13 June 2017, S2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road

Part of  the Politics and Paradoxes of Transparency Research Group series.