Who is allowed to speak up? Our interview with John Kiriakou, a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) whistleblower, illustrates the battle for legitimacy that often characterises a whistleblowing struggle. Despite what we might imagine and indeed wish it to be: a simple tale of an ethical hero telling the truth; whistleblowing can involve complex battles over how this truth is told and by whom. Different versions can be used to variously celebrate or denigrate the teller.
As addressed in previous issues of ephemera, in contemporary political economy, the conjunction of openness and closure, visibility and invisibility, and transparency and secrecy of information is precarious (e.g. Bachmann et al., 2017; Curtis and Weir, 2016). Information and ‘truth’ have been turned into objects of contention, and it is increasingly contested what is considered sound information and truth, who has access to which type of information, and who is in the position to shape and control information and promote truth(s) (Munro, 2017).
Naming and shaming or ‘speaking truth to power’? On the ambivalences of the Indian ‘list of sexual harassers in academia’ (LoSHA)
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein takedown and the following popularity of the #metoo campaign, numerous women* have spoken up, sharing their experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace (Davis and Zarkov, 2018; Khomami, 2017). Increasingly, this has also taken on the form of popular listicles – lists that point out certain items or names to be circulated within the digital.
A number of spectacular cases have recently spurred research and public debate on whistleblowing. Portrayals of whistleblowers oscillate between the heroic and courageous ‘truth-teller’ and the morally dubious and dangerous ‘trouble-maker’. Whilst acknowledging the deep ambivalence of whistleblowing, this special issue moves beyond individualising accounts.
Critical Management Studies (CMS) has been quite successful at establishing a respectable place for itself within the academic community; at least in the UK, it is associated with well-recognised journals, conferences and key figures (Grey and Willmott, 2002; Rowlinson and Hassard, 2011).