I’m working on the concept of blogging as parrhesia.
In my last post I examined the parrhesiastic contract. It suggests that there’s an important place for the powerful to give to the subject permission to speak freely. Without that permission the ruler does not get to hear all that is on the mind of the speaker and, therefore, could have their power threatened.
In the case of blogging, and particularly that of Heather Armstrong, the parrhesiastic contract existed – or at least we can assume it did – within her real life work. It may well have existed post her blog being discovered by her boss. But at some point her blog posts were thought to be subversive of the power of her employer and the lines of the parrhesiastic contract were redrawn leading to her dismissal. Power worked productively to encourage Armstrong to speak her mind on the blog. It also worked productively to then create her blog as an enemy of the state and have her fired.