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Open Cultural Studies

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Transparency as Ideology, Ideology as Transparency: Towards a Critique of the Meta-aesthetics of Neoliberal Hegemony

Jorge I. Valdovinos
Published Online: 2018-12-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0059


Along with the increasing commodification of all aspects of culture and the persistent aestheticisation of everyday life under late capitalism, there is an equally increasing longing for objectivity, immediacy, and trust. As the mediation of our everyday experiences augments, a generalised feeling of mistrust in institutions reigns; the sense of a need to bypass them increases, and the call for more “transparency” intensifies. As transparency manages to bypass critical examination, the term becomes a source of tacit social consensus. This paper argues that the proliferation of contemporary discourses favouring transparency has become one of the fundamental vehicles for the legitimation of neoliberal hegemony, due to transparency's own conceptual structure-a formula with a particularly sharp capacity for translating structures of power into structures of feeling. While the ideology of transparency promises a movement towards the abolition of unequal flows of information at the basis of relations of power and exploitation, it simultaneously sustains a regime of hyper-visibility based on asymmetrical mechanisms of accountability for the sake of profit. The solution is not “more” transparency or “better” information, but to critically examine the emancipatory potential of transparency at the conceptual level, inspecting the architecture that supports its parasitic logic.

Keywords: ideology; transparency; neoliberalism


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About the article

Received: 2018-06-15

Accepted: 2018-11-18

Published Online: 2018-12-31

Published in Print: 2018-12-01

Citation Information: Open Cultural Studies, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 654–667, ISSN (Online) 2451-3474, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0059.

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© by Jorge I. Valdovinos, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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