Fields of interest
- Democratic theory
- Secrecy and transparency in democratic politics
- Political legitimacy
- Political obligation
Dorota Mokrosinska is laureate of an ERC Starting Grant awarded by the European Research Council. She is the director of the ERC StG project entitled “Democratic Secrecy: A Philosophical Study of the Role of Secrecy in Democratic Governance”. The project, running from 2015 to 2020, is funded by the European Research Council.
The starting hypothesis of the project is that secrecy is not always inimical to democratic governance as conventional wisdom has it. Whereas the importance of transparency seems undisputed, many feel that complete transparency would undermine effective functioning of governments, and that some degree of secrecy is needed. Take the public responses to the Wikileaks disclosures: many of the disclosures were assessed favorably, but few people defended the idea of total transparency that inspired them.
If both complete secrecy and complete transparency are to be rejected, what ratio of secrecy and transparency in democratic politics should we seek? For example, does democratic commitment to transparency require that classified intelligence programs or closed-door political bargaining be abolished? Democratic theory leaves such questions unanswered. This project develops a theory of democratic secrecy centered around two theses:
1. Secrecy in exercising executive and legislative power can be democratically authorized;
2. Secrecy protects the integrity of democratic decision-making processes;
To complement the theory, the project develops:
1. Criteria for establishing which trade-offs between claims of transparency and those of secrecy in politics are acceptable, and which are not;
2. Criteria for political accountability with regard to wielding political secrets;3. Criteria for assessing responsibility for unauthorized disclosures by civil servants and the media.
Dorota Mokrosinska obtained her PhD in philosophy (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam. Her dissertation won the 2008 National Biennial Dissertation Prize awarded by the Dutch Research School in Ethics. With the Rubicon grant awarded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, she spent time as a Visiting Scholar at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On her return to the Netherlands, she took up a Postdoctoral Research position at the University of Amsterdam. In Spring/Summer 2013 she was a Departmental Guest at the Department of Politics at Princeton University. In 2014/2015 she worked as a Research Associate at the Department of Political Science of the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main.