Varieties of Transparency

David Heald

in Transparency: The Key to Better Governance?

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263839
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734915 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Varieties of Transparency

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Although the purpose of this chapter is to construct an anatomy of transparency, it is essential to address the triangular relationship between transparency, openness, and surveillance. The first question is whether a clear distinction can be drawn between transparency and openness. The second question concerns the relationship between transparency/openness and surveillance. This chapter examines transparency, focusing on directions and varieties of transparency and how they interact with their habitat and with each other. It distinguishes four directions of transparency and maps its varieties. The chapter also emphasizes the importance of examining the habitats within which transparency operates. Finally, it draws some brief conclusions, stressing the implications of the analysis for the measurement of transparency. The aim is to identify different directions and varieties of transparency in relatively neutral terms. Abstracting from the issue of direction, transparency can be analysed by means of a set of three dichotomies: event transparency versus process transparency; transparency in retrospect versus transparency in real time; and nominal transparency versus effective transparency.

Keywords: transparency; openness; surveillance; habitat; event transparency; process transparency; transparency in retrospect; real time; nominal transparency; effective transparency

Chapter.  6669 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Theory

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