chapter  2
10 Pages

Access to information delimited

ByRachel Adams

Access to information laws – which burgeoned globally in the early years of the 21st century – are the key legal instrument for state transparency, providing citizens with legislated means to request access to government (and sometimes privately held) information. Yet, as this chapter explores, these laws arise from a particular world view and way of thinking which can work to exclude those who do not participate in its terms. Here I analyse the way in which access to information laws delimit other realities, other ways of governing and other kinds of information or knowledge which cannot be reduced to a disclosable “record”. I draw on the notion of ‘epistemic violence’ developed by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak to name the way in which subaltern knowledges are rewritten by privileged Western knowledge and knowledge systems. In making these arguments, this chapter examines the South African Promotion of Access to Information Act as an example.