New Paper Out: Institutional Resistance To Transparency

Guillén published a paper in the latest number of the Journal Of Resistance Studies. You can download a pre-print version of it here. And read the abstract here:

Despite the popularization of progressive Freedom of Information and Open Data policies, both transparency practitioners and academia have warned about an increase in attempts to control and reduce the information that flows from the state to citizens. Within the literature dedicated to investigate this phenomenon, the notion of resistance to transparency has been used often to characterize instances of problematic governmental information control. However, within this body of research, the concept of resistance has been stripped of its contentious elements and treated as a synonym of reluctance, unwillingness or foot-dragging, rather than a category with an inherent political dimension. As a result, what is institutional resistance to transparency and what are its political consequences remains vague. Drawing from the theoretical toolbox of the fields of Resistance Studies and Science and Technology Studies, this paper explores the politics of institutional resistance to transparency through a case study of Mexican information activists. By focusing on activists’ experiences, I suggest that institutional resistance originates in how transparency mechanisms allow some citizens to make the state more legible, controllable, and accountable. Furthermore, I argue that institutional resistance is carried out mostly through everyday, subtle, seemingly non-political strategies implemented by the state’s institutions, which reduce citizens’ ability to produce and/or process data regarding governmental action.