Openness and Opacity: An Interview with Clare Birchall

clare birchall

Openness and Opacity: An Interview with Clare Birchall

Francien Broekhuizen, Simon Dawes, Danai Mikelli, Poppy Wilde



In this follow-up interview to her keynote lecture at the MeCCSA-PGN 2015 Conference in Coventry, Clare Birchall discusses the “sharing economy”, “shareveillance” and the depoliticised subjectivity shaped by both open and opaque data. In order to re-imagine subjectivity in the face of shareveillance, Birchall calls on Édouard Glissant’s “right to opacity”. Ultimately, she explains how the concept of “sharing” can be politicised as a Commons, while the appropriation of opacity can become a political act. Her reassessment of the politics and values associated with openness and secrecy has implications for media scholars, particularly in terms of the need to think more critically about what kinds of publishing, networks and communications we want to develop.


Article: Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech and Counter-Speech


This brief rapid response article considers the French media framing of the Charlie Hebdo attack in terms of ‘Republican values’ such as free speech, and critiques the post-political and moralistic reduction of debate to ‘right and wrong’ arguments, as well as the fetishisation of the right to offend and the depoliticisation of the right to be offended.

Published in Sociological Research Online (20.3 August 2015):

N.B. This article is available free of charge to private individuals using a commercial IP address. However, for institutions such as universities, an annual subscription to the journal is required to gain access. An Open Access version will also be available on this site after an embargo of one year.

Interview with Julian Petley: Press Freedom, Press Regulation and the Public Interest

Julian Petley photo

Julian Petley, one of the most prominent campaigners for media freedom in the UK, kindly agreed to answer some questions on phone-hacking, the Snowden leaks, the fallout from the Leveson Inquiry, and IPSO, the new self-regulatory body for the press. In this interview, he emphasises the need for press freedom from both the state and the market, and the need for some form of state intervention to ensure press freedom.

This interview has subsequently been republished on the Inforrm blog.

Continue reading

Interview with Amitai Etzioni: A Communitarian Approach to Press Freedom, Privacy and National Security

Amitai Etzioni photo

Amitai Etzioni recently published an article outlining his liberal communitarian approach to balancing press freedom with national security, and criticising the publication of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. In this short interview, I ask him to outline his concept of communitarianism, his communitarian approach to values such as press freedom, privacy and national security, as well as his criticisms of the Snowden affair.

Continue reading

Article: La liberté de la presse, la vie privée et l’espace public (in French)

raison publique logo

This article, ‘La liberté de la presse, la vie privée et l’espace public’, was published in 2014 on the website of the French journal, Raison Publique [libre accès]. It’s a translation of my article ‘Press Freedom, Privacy and the Public Sphere’, published in Journalism Studies (15.1)