“Transparency and its Limits”, Transparency and Society – Between Promise and Peril, Herrenhausen Conference

Document Type


Publication Date

June 2018

Conference / Event Title

Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (BBAW)


Presenter, “Transparency and its Limits”, Transparency and Society – Between Promise and Peril, Herrenhausen Conference, Volkswagenstiftung, Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW), Berlin, Germany. (June 12 & 14, 2018)


The Herrenhausen Conference in Berlin on June 12 - 14, 2018 focuses on transparency within society between democratization and surveillance, security and freedom, public interest and private sphere.
For several decades now, "transparency" has become an omnipresent concept in the public discourse. At the same time, however, it manifests as both hope and danger, medium of democratization and of surveillance, as augmentation of freedom and a threat to privacy. In the face of this ambivalence, the study of transparency and its role in the development and transformation of modern societies has increasingly become a field of research in the humanities and social sciences in its own right. The Herrenhausen Conference will debate discourses and practices, as well as the borders and ambiguities of transparency within the context of broader social and cultural change, in particular with regard to publicity, open government, institutional environments, the individual, and the digital age. The conference aims to promote a deeper understanding of transparency and identify approaches to handle the different and diverging demands and expectations on transparency within society. A major goal will be to contribute to answering the question of how a socially accepted balance between security and freedom, between public interest and private sphere can be achieved. The conference provides a forum for debate between researchers in the humanities and the social sciences, experts from NGOs, civil society, and the media.
"Transparency and Society" is part of the Herrenhausen Conference Series initiated by the Volkswagen Foundation. The steering committee consists of Stefan Berger, Dimitrij Owetschkin (both Institute for Social Movements, University of Bochum), Susanne Fengler (Erich Brost Institute for International Journalism, TU Dortmund University) and Ute Schneider (Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI), Essen).
Session 1: Transparency and Public Policy - Historical and Methodological PerspectivesSession 2: Transparency in the Digital Age Session 3: Transparency and Institutional EnvironmentSession 4: Transparency, Knowledge and Informational OpennessSession 5: Transparency and the Individual - the End of Privacy?Session 6: Towards a "Transparent Society"?

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