Digital Age| Transparency: Mediation and the Management of Visibilities
This article challenges the view of transparency as a matter of providing openness, insight, and clarity by conceptualizing it as a form of visibility management. We tend to think of transparency as a process of ensuring accountability through the timely and public disclosure of information. But with the ubiquity of digital technology and data, transparency efforts have more elaborate and complex effects. To conceptualize these, this article discusses the technological and mediated foundations of transparency and the dynamics of visibility practices resulting from efforts to make people, objects, and processes knowable and governable. This implies that we shift our attention away from the provision of information and consider the wider social processes and dynamics at work in transparency efforts. Using empirical illustrations from organizations with an explicit commitment to transparency, this article articulates the complexities and dynamics of visibility management and highlights a set of critical questions about the politics, technologies, and power effects of contemporary transparency regimes.