"Accountability as Cultural Keyword." Prepared for a presentation at a seminar of the Research Colloquium on Good Governance, Netherlands Institute of Government, 9­ May 2012, VU University, Amsterdam NL



(This is revision dated 5/23/2012) This paper examines "accountability" as a cultural phenomenon, and specifically as what Raymond Williams termed a "cultural keyword." Williams designates as keywords those terms in a community’s vocabulary that not only provide meaningful insights into the priorities and values of that society, but also play a significant role in creating the dynamic cultural milieu that connects and shapes important and problematic social arenas. After positing that accountability has achieved cultural keyword status, I explore the term as a word, concept and speech act.

[A shorter published version is
found here.]