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Whistleblowing and the politics of truth: mobilizing 'truth games' in the WikiLeaks case

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Iain Munro



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This paper investigates the role of ‘truth’ as an object of contention within organizations, with specific reference to the ‘politics of truth’ in the WikiLeaks case. For an empirical illustration of a ‘truth game’ this paper draws on varied accounts of the WikiLeaks whistleblowing website. The paper shows how different ‘truth games’ are mobilised by different organizational actors engaged in a politics of truth. The paper demonstrates the existence of different truth games at work in the WikiLeaks case. It shows WikiLeaks’ profound challenge to hegemonic games of truth in terms of a ‘networked parhessia’, which entails a radical transformation of the process of truth telling in support of whistleblowers and in pursuit of an explicitly emancipatory, anarchist political agenda. Networked parhessia provides a new infrastructure to enable a ‘parhessia of the governed.’ This paper demonstrates how WikiLeaks is of singular importance as a case study of organizational resistance in the way it moves beyond micropolitical acts of resistance, such as whistleblowing, towards an engagement with wider political struggles.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Munro I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Human Relations

Year: 2017

Volume: 70

Issue: 5

Pages: 519-543

Print publication date: 01/05/2017

Online publication date: 01/12/2016

Acceptance date: 13/09/2016

Date deposited: 15/09/2016

ISSN (print): 0018-7267

ISSN (electronic): 1741-282X

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0018726716672721


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