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Transparency, publicity, democracy and markets: inhabiting tensions through hybridity

Edwards, Lee ORCID: 0000-0001-6542-1234 (2020) Transparency, publicity, democracy and markets: inhabiting tensions through hybridity. American Behavioral Scientist, 64 (11). pp. 1545-1564. ISSN 0002-7642

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0002764220945350


In this article, I explore the relationship between transparency and publicity, and consider how the links between the two ideas might be reconceptualized to make better sense of their empirical reality. Both transparency and publicity have acquired a normative power as management ideas that govern all kinds of organizations—political, commercial, nonprofit, and public sector. Transparency is normatively associated with ensuring accountability of those who govern (whether politically or economically) to those they are governing, while publicity is a strategic act motivated primarily by self-interest: to engage in publicity is to make visible something that one desires to be seen in a particular way in order to reap the benefits of that perception. The result of these normative associations is that transparency and publicity are often understood as conceptually opposed and incommensurate concepts. In this article, I challenge this dichotomy and suggest that, given the empirical reality of their application by organizations, it is more productive to understand the concepts as a transparency–publicity hybrid, rather than separate ideas. By investigating the empirical connections between transparency and what might be termed promotional publicity, new and more productive thinking about the effects of their interaction on organizations can develop.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2020 SAGE Publications
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 09:48
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 16:24

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