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‘Parrhesia’: the Radical Destruction of Impunity

French Philosopher Michel Foucault. Image: thierry ehrmann/Flickr

This article was originally published by OpenSecurity on 26 May 2015 as part of the “States of Impunity” series.

Impunity is not simply a juridical, technical problem, or some sort of loophole in the law that lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, and activists can close with greater effort. Impunity lies at the heart of a dispositive that encompasses, neutralizes and even recuperates almost all attempts to redress it. We have come to this disturbing realization on the basis of both empirical and theoretical attempts to understand how contemporary legal, political or civil-society practices run the risk, despite their benevolence, of falling into the propagandistic rhetoric, social conformism and bureaucratic indifference that feed impunity.