Transparency’s Trap: Problems of an Unquestioned Norm

  • Frieder VogelmannEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


Starting with the observation that transparency has become a concept so familiar that one hardly ever stops to consider the presuppositions and consequences of its usage, the chapter analyses transparency demands as a specific way of exercising power. By doing so, the author shows that the intrinsic logic of transparency leads to paradoxical effects. Any attempts to realize complete transparency undermine its own preconditions. As Vogelmann argues, instead of providing more visibility and clarity, transparency makes its objects “invisible” and the intensification of transparency demands produces self-censorship. The chapter concludes that transparency claims undermine the distinction between the private and the public and threaten the individual autonomy.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social SciencesGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurtGermany

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