Despite the proliferation of whistleblower protection legislation across the world, increasingly scholars report that these laws fail to fully protect the whistleblower. In this paper, I direct attention to the politics of whistleblower protection and suggest that the Foucauldian concept of problematization can help to clarify how legal regulation is involved in the exercise of political power. I situate my study in the EU context and the Whistleblower Protection Directive drawing on Carol Bacchi’s WPR approach. The study finds, that by mobilizing the engagement of workers in law enforcement, whistleblower protection works as a technology of power to rectify the problematics of EU government. I conclude by reflecting on the ethico-political implications of governmentalizing whistleblower protection in advanced liberal democracies.
Together with Bernadette Loacker (Lancester University) and Randi Heinrichs (Lüneburg) I co-edited and ephemera special Issue (PDF) on truth-telling and whistleblowing in digital cultures. The issue opens a space for discussing the specific ‘conditions of possibility’ of truth-telling and the multiple technologies, which mediate it in contemporary digital cultures.
The notion of the ethico-politics of whistleblowing is introduced to address the irreducible entanglement of questions of ethics, politics and truth in the practice of ‘speaking out’. The special issue brings together a set of papers, acknowledging that forms and mediations of truth-telling are complex and contested. The contributions discuss questions such as: Who is, in digital cultures, considered to be qualified to speak out, and about what? Under which conditions, and with what consequences can ‘the truth’ be told? How do digital infrastructures regulate the truth, and the process of making it heard? How is the figure of the whistleblower constructed, and how do whistleblowers constitute themselves as political and ethical subjects, willing to take risks and pose a challenge, to others and themselves?
[T]his special issue situates the experience of whistleblowing in the context of contemporary discourses and practices, such as security, transparency and accountability, and is thereby particularly interested in the exploration of the ethical and political dimensions and implications of practices of whistleblowing. It raises the question of who is considered to be qualified to blow the whistle, under which conditions, about what, in what forms, with what consequences, and with what relation to power (Foucault, 2001). How is the figure of the whistleblower socially and discursively constructed and is there, for example, a specific relation to gender, race and class implied? How and at what cost do whistleblowers as political actors constitute themselves as ethical subjects, capable of taking risks and posing a challenge, capable of governing themselves and of governing others? Moreover, why are we suddenly faced with a boom of whistleblowing and an intensified ‘problematisation’ of the phenomenon in so-called digital cultures? Or, from another perspective, for which social, political, legal and also technical difficulties is whistleblowing the answer?
Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2018. All contributions should be submitted to one of the issue editors: Randi Heinrichs (randi.heinrichs AT leuphana.de), Bernadette Loacker (b.loacker AT lancaster.ac.uk), Richard Weiskopf (richard.weiskopf AT uibk.ac.at). Please note that three categories of contributions are invited for the special issue: articles, notes, and reviews. Information about these types of contributions can be found at: http://www.ephemerajournal.org/how-submit. The submissions will undergo a double-blind review process. All submissions should follow ephemera’s submission guidelines (see the ‘Abc of formatting’ guide in particular). For further information, please contact me or one of the other special issue editors.