Transparency and opacity: Levinasian reflections on accountability in Australian schooling

Educational Philosophy and Theory 47 (2):1-15 (2015)
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This article draws on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas to consider, from an ethical perspective, the current transparency and accountability agenda in Australian schooling. It focuses on the case of the My School website and the argument that transparent publication of comparative performance data via the website provides a basis for making things better in schooling. The article argues that while technologies of accountability may have potential benefits, they cannot provide a basis for this ethical project. Instead, the ethical experience described by Levinas arises from an encounter with opacity in the face-to-face relation with the Other, who is harshly illuminated by the transparency promised through calculation and comparison. Such encounters with opacity hold the potential to disrupt the politics of visibility promoted by transparency agendas and provide an alternative to the growing practice of 'accountability at a distance' based on performance data



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Citations of this work

Levinas, bureaucracy, and the ethics of school leadership.Andrew Pendola - 2019 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 51 (14):1528-1540.

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References found in this work

Totality and infinity: an essay on exteriority.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961 - Hingham, MA: distribution for the U.S. and Canada, Kluwer Boston.
Postmodern ethics.Zygmunt Bauman - 1993 - Cambridge: Blackwell.
Negotiations, 1972-1990.Gilles Deleuze - 1995 - Columbia University Press.
The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification.Michael Power - 1999 - British Journal of Educational Studies 47 (1):92-94.

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