Although expansions of state secrecy and the countervailing leaks of classified documents imbue the anthropology of secrecy with urgent relevance, secrecy has a long-standing status as a paradigmatically anthropological topic. In the ethnographic record, initiatory secrets often stand for the quiddity of culture, and the revelation of concealed realities is an organizing trope in much ethnographic writing. While situating research on secrecy as a reflection of epistemological and ethical dimensions of cultural anthropology more broadly, this review simultaneously explores parallels between different anthropological traditions by focusing on descriptions of the media through which social relations involving secrecy are transacted. Attending to ethnographic accounts of the way secrets travel across different media and coexist simultaneously in various mediated states provides both a novel intellectual framework for surveying recent research and a basis for conceptualizing the anthropology of secrecy itself as a practice that involves intermedial and transmedial knowledge flows.


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