Partial Secrets

Article


Squire, C. 2015. Partial Secrets. Current Anthropology.
AuthorsSquire, C.
Abstract

The ability and right to have secrets may be a condition of social ethics (Derrida, A Taste for the Secret), but at the
same time the nature of secrets is that they undermine themselves. Once told, secrets are no longer secret but are
known. Even to name them as possibilities is to bring them into view as objects of knowledge. Secrets are thus
always in some ways partial secrets, but their “openness” also connotes the lack of certainty of any knowledge about
them, their evasiveness, their lack of fixity, and hence, their partial character and openness to change. In this article,
I explore partial secrets in relation to a 2011 interview study of HIV support in the United Kingdom, where HIV’s
relatively low prevalence and high treatment access tends toward its invisibilization. I suggest that in this context,
HIV is positioned ambiguously, as a “partial secret,” in an ongoing and precarious tension between public knowledge
and acceptance of HIV, HIV’s constitution as a condition of citizenship attended by full human rights, and HIV’s
being resecreted through ongoing illness, constrained resources, citizenly exclusion, and the psychological and
social isolation of those affected.

JournalCurrent Anthropology
ISSN15375382
00113204
Year2015
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
Publisher's version
License
CC BY
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/683299
Publication dates
Print03 Dec 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited14 Dec 2015
Accepted23 Jul 2015
Copyright information© 2015 by The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.
Page rangeS000-S000
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/853v2

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