Parrhesia and democracy : Truthtelling, WikiLeaks and the Arab Spring

Sauter, Theresa & Kendall, Gavin P. (2011) Parrhesia and democracy : Truthtelling, WikiLeaks and the Arab Spring. Social Alternatives, 30(3), pp. 10-14.

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Parrhesia — the practice of truth-telling — was adapted to various ancient legal, political, philosophical and religious contexts. In this essay we focus on parrhesia in politics and its relevance for democracy, concentrating on the account given by Michel Foucault. We suggest that Foucault’s approach to parrhesia and democracy is valuable because of its stress on the analysis of governmental rationalities and the ethical comportment of citizens, rather than on the normative dimensions of democracy, as is more usual (but more sterile) in political thought. We take two modern examples of truth-telling’s role in democracy – the recent WikiLeaks scandal and the political struggles in Tunisia and Egypt – as a way of assessing the value of Foucault’s distinctive approach and the relevance of parrhesia for democracy today.

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ID Code: 49683
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Democracy, Michel Foucault, Parrhesia, Wikileaks, Arab Spring
ISSN: 0155-0306
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Theory (160806)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > PHILOSOPHY (220300) > Philosophy of Specific Cultures (incl. Comparative Philosophy) (220316)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Division of Research and Commercialisation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Social Alternatives.
Deposited On: 13 Apr 2012 01:38
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2012 00:26

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