Secrecy's Softwares

Sarah Nuttall, Achille Mbembe
2015 Current Anthropology  
In this paper, we reflect on the many deaths as well as the new lives of secrecy in our political and cultural age. We consider through five rubrics (statehood, security, finance, urbanity, and selfhood) the complicated and constantly shifting scales of relation between secrecy, transparency, conspiracy, and intimacy. We explore the paradox of publics and states asking for both transparency and security in an age of heightened suspicion. Moreover, financial processes, often referred to as
more » ... oring," give new forms and content to particular sets of secret relations. Secrets, it seems, have become more open and more motile than we have understood them to be. We briefly consider, in the fourth part of this paper, how aspects of the offshore play out in relation to urban landscapes, drawing on examples from Johannesburg. Finally, we consider the shifting vocabularies of intimacy in relation to the death of the secret as we know it. New struggles over the means and meanings of secrecy and transparency as the lines between these terms shift in substantial ways are the central subject of this essay.
doi:10.1086/683295 fatcat:guidd4lwrrf3lgugjskl25t5uy