Secrets and Democracy From Arcana Imperii to Wikileaks

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-03-11
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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As governments actively collect and analyse more information about their populations than ever before, citizens struggle to defend their privacy and determine which state secrets are legitimate and which are not. Jurisdictional complexity, the inability of representatives to gain access to relevant information, citizens' relative lack of expertise, and the partisanship that exists between different government agencies make oversight difficult. Secrets and Democracy considers afresh the role that secrets play within liberal democracies and the impact this has on the public's 'right to know,' the individual's 'right to privacy,' and the government's penchant for secrecy and data collection. Now, perhaps more than ever, secrecy (and the disclosure of secrets) is in the public eye thanks to the phenomenon of WikiLeaks. However, this book places WikiLeaks in the context of centuries-old discussion of the necessity of secrecy, as well as contemporary debate concerning the relative merits of privacy, openness, transparency, and accountability.

Author Biography

Lawrence Quill is Professor of Political Science at San José State University, San José, USA where he teaches courses in political theory. He is the author of Liberty after Liberalism (London: Palgrave, 2006) and Civil Disobedience: (Un)Common Sense in Mass Democracies (London: Palgrave, 2009).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Visible Darkness
2. Theory's Secret History
3. Liberal Secrets
4. Secrecy and the Liberal State
5. Privacy and Secrecy
6. Life After Wikileaks
7. Conclusion: Secrecy and Silence

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