Radical Transparency in Democratic Governing: Democracy unbound within a networked society?
AffiliationSchool of Social and Political Sciences
School of Culture and Communication
Melbourne School of Government
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Document TypePhD thesis
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© 2016 Dr. Luke Justin Heemsbergen
This thesis considers the extent that (digitally) mediated projects of transparency afford new modes of democratic governing. It puts forward the concept of ̳radical transparency‘ to describe shifts in the technologies and rationalities of government due to acts of disclosure. It approaches these claims through a collective case study of radical transparency apparatuses that employ new media as part of their materialisation of democratic governing, ranging from 18th Century Hansard to beyond WikiLeaks. The apparatuses are purposively selected on criteria of disruptive mechanics, extra-organisational position, and paradigmatic shifts of governing expectations. The resulting comparative analyses falsifies axiomatic understandings of what transparency is and does, as well as claims that democracy is bound to a singular ideal (of governance). Instead, the work considers how transparency apparatuses constitute and are constituted by deeply pluralistic theoretical frameworks of responsive agonism and diverse expectations of the conduct of conduct within a media ecology. The thesis finds a plurality of political affordances emanates from the digital transparency projects, and these create - and predict - complex implications for future evolutions of democratic governing.
Keywordstransparency; media; agonism; democratic theory; radical politics; digital democracy
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