“Transparency becomes a hell of sameness” writes Byung-Chul Han in his recent essay The Society of Transparency. He suggests that the increasing normative diffusion of practices of “transparency” indicates a paradigm shift in contemporary governance – the illusion that democratic politics can be replaced with an increase in technocratic measures of certification, standardization and evaluation.

Research program

This overarching aim will be pursued through the following interrelated activities. We will:
1. Carry out long-term, in-depth fieldwork in collaboration with farmers and activists, covering all stages of self-certification within their broader relations with consumers and authorities. Building on a short-term fieldwork related to ‘good practices’ of consumer-producer relations in Italy of a previously ESRC funded interdisciplinary project (“Analyses of Food Supply Chains for Risks and Resilience to Food Fraud/Crime”, ES/M003094/1) this study will shed light on innovative practices that challenge contemporary governance related to practices of standardisation and certification;