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Arkivariens balansakt : en dekonstruerande läsning av offentlighets- och sekretesslagen med fokus på dess framställning av integritet

Almer, Anton LU and Svensson, Madelene LU (2019) ABMM34 20191
Division of ALM and Digital Cultures
Abstract
In Sweden there are many laws that apply to government archives. Amongst them are the Public Access and Secrecy Act (offentlighets- och sekretesslagen) which regulates which records are bound by secrecy and which are rendered public. The Public Access and Secrecy Act frequently makes implicit references to a protection of integrity, particularly in its treaties on extradition.

To investigate what kinds of integrity the Swedish law, and by extension the governmental archivist, protects and upholds this thesis does a textual analysis of the Public Access and Secrecy Act. This is done with the goal of assisting governmental archivists in their interpretations of the law and to clarify what norms and values they are upholding. Therefore,... (More)
In Sweden there are many laws that apply to government archives. Amongst them are the Public Access and Secrecy Act (offentlighets- och sekretesslagen) which regulates which records are bound by secrecy and which are rendered public. The Public Access and Secrecy Act frequently makes implicit references to a protection of integrity, particularly in its treaties on extradition.

To investigate what kinds of integrity the Swedish law, and by extension the governmental archivist, protects and upholds this thesis does a textual analysis of the Public Access and Secrecy Act. This is done with the goal of assisting governmental archivists in their interpretations of the law and to clarify what norms and values they are upholding. Therefore, the main question of the thesis becomes: Which thoughts regarding integrity are the Public Access and Secrecy Act explicitly and implicitly expressing?

This thesis positions itself within the multidisciplinary field of archival science drawing its theories from post-structuralism and relying mainly on deconstruction and discourse analysis, in some cases with reference to information science and critical legal studies. In defining the readings, this paper utilizes Jacques Derrida’s concept of différance which states that one textual or verbal statement holds within it a multitude of understandings and truths, none of which is more “true” than the other.

Through the analysis of the Public Access and Secrecy Act a plethora of possible definitions of integrity was identified, primarily because the law itself does not contain one explicit definition. The government itself, in some of the Official Reports of the Swedish Government (Statens offentliga utredningar), claims that the term both should not and cannot be defined in singularity. By examining the implicit subtext of the act, however, there is a clear definition that can be seen throughout; namely, that integrity can be defined as a holistic entity. When information has the potential to distort this entity, regardless of what constitutes its ‘wholeness’, then that information must necessarily be protected under the secrecy law.

However, seeing integrity as a measure of ‘wholeness’ is not the only definition which could be drawn from the readings. Instead, two further definitions of integrity implicitly could be found in the law. One is Mark Halfon's definition of personal integrity which proposes that a person of integrity is someone who maintains a commitment to one or several ideals. The other is Helen Nissenbaum's theory of contextual integrity, which suggests that every piece of information has different rules regarding flow and appropriateness pertaining to its context. A fifth conclusion deduced is that the state itself, according to the law, is automatically considered to have integrity. In the process of answering the thesis question, the rigid dichotomy of a private and public sphere itself becomes a highly questionable construct, leading to multiple more problematizations of the Public Access and Secrecy Act.

The overarching conclusion of this paper is that integrity and the law can both be viewed from a variety of differing perspectives, which lead to the multilayering and nuance in the definitions of each accordingly. This thesis suggests that that the role of an archivist exists exactly here; in a nexus of multiplicities. The work of the archivist, therefore, can be seen not as a static responsibility, but as a balancing act, in which the archivist’s obligation is to facilitate between different understandings of the law and its use of the term integrity. (Less)
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author
Almer, Anton LU and Svensson, Madelene LU
supervisor
organization
course
ABMM34 20191
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Integrity, Contextual integrity, Personal integrity, State integrity, Deconstruction, Discourse analysis, Post-structuralism, Law, Archive, Archivist, Archival science, Public Access and Secrecy Act, Interdisciplinary, ALM, integritet, diskursanalys, arkivvetenskap, ABM, offentlighetslagen, sekretesslagen
language
Swedish
id
8979125
date added to LUP
2019-07-16 09:34:00
date last changed
2019-07-16 09:34:00
@misc{8979125,
  abstract     = {In Sweden there are many laws that apply to government archives. Amongst them are the Public Access and Secrecy Act (offentlighets- och sekretesslagen) which regulates which records are bound by secrecy and which are rendered public. The Public Access and Secrecy Act frequently makes implicit references to a protection of integrity, particularly in its treaties on extradition.

To investigate what kinds of integrity the Swedish law, and by extension the governmental archivist, protects and upholds this thesis does a textual analysis of the Public Access and Secrecy Act. This is done with the goal of assisting governmental archivists in their interpretations of the law and to clarify what norms and values they are upholding. Therefore, the main question of the thesis becomes: Which thoughts regarding integrity are the Public Access and Secrecy Act explicitly and implicitly expressing?

This thesis positions itself within the multidisciplinary field of archival science drawing its theories from post-structuralism and relying mainly on deconstruction and discourse analysis, in some cases with reference to information science and critical legal studies. In defining the readings, this paper utilizes Jacques Derrida’s concept of différance which states that one textual or verbal statement holds within it a multitude of understandings and truths, none of which is more “true” than the other.

Through the analysis of the Public Access and Secrecy Act a plethora of possible definitions of integrity was identified, primarily because the law itself does not contain one explicit definition. The government itself, in some of the Official Reports of the Swedish Government (Statens offentliga utredningar), claims that the term both should not and cannot be defined in singularity. By examining the implicit subtext of the act, however, there is a clear definition that can be seen throughout; namely, that integrity can be defined as a holistic entity. When information has the potential to distort this entity, regardless of what constitutes its ‘wholeness’, then that information must necessarily be protected under the secrecy law.

However, seeing integrity as a measure of ‘wholeness’ is not the only definition which could be drawn from the readings. Instead, two further definitions of integrity implicitly could be found in the law. One is Mark Halfon's definition of personal integrity which proposes that a person of integrity is someone who maintains a commitment to one or several ideals. The other is Helen Nissenbaum's theory of contextual integrity, which suggests that every piece of information has different rules regarding flow and appropriateness pertaining to its context. A fifth conclusion deduced is that the state itself, according to the law, is automatically considered to have integrity. In the process of answering the thesis question, the rigid dichotomy of a private and public sphere itself becomes a highly questionable construct, leading to multiple more problematizations of the Public Access and Secrecy Act.

The overarching conclusion of this paper is that integrity and the law can both be viewed from a variety of differing perspectives, which lead to the multilayering and nuance in the definitions of each accordingly. This thesis suggests that that the role of an archivist exists exactly here; in a nexus of multiplicities. The work of the archivist, therefore, can be seen not as a static responsibility, but as a balancing act, in which the archivist’s obligation is to facilitate between different understandings of the law and its use of the term integrity.},
  author       = {Almer, Anton and Svensson, Madelene},
  keyword      = {Integrity,Contextual integrity,Personal integrity,State integrity,Deconstruction,Discourse analysis,Post-structuralism,Law,Archive,Archivist,Archival science,Public Access and Secrecy Act,Interdisciplinary,ALM,integritet,diskursanalys,arkivvetenskap,ABM,offentlighetslagen,sekretesslagen},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Arkivariens balansakt : en dekonstruerande läsning av offentlighets- och sekretesslagen med fokus på dess framställning av integritet},
  year         = {2019},
}