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Public and Private: Transparency and Responsibility

  • Mike SheaffEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The long-contested boundary between ‘public’ and ‘private’ spheres gains renewed relevance as ideas of transparency and responsibility come to the fore in public policy discourse. These issues have special importance for understanding organisational failure, sometimes presented in terms of another binary, between ‘people’ and ‘systems’. With public mistrust of those in authority increasing, this chapter considers examples of past sociological studies of disasters to illustrate differing ways in which questions of responsibility and blame are addressed. Detailed attention is given to this in the context of the 1966 Aberfan disaster. The chapter ends by suggesting that while contemporary neoliberal discourses apparently favour responsibility and transparency, tensions between them, accompanied by uncertain boundaries between privacy and secrecy, can create a retreat from both.

Keywords

Transparency Responsibility Neoliberal Entrepreneurial Public-private 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law, Criminology & GovernmentUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK

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