AbstractIf you search for ´transparency´ on an internet search engine, it will provide more than 87 million hits to choose from. By clicking through the results, a diverse variety of types of transparency can be found, ranging from governmental or state transparency to transparency in the financial sector to transparency in sports. While some hits provide state or corporate policies on transparency, others refer to organizations that push for increased openness of organizations. Transparency is a concept that can be applied to a broad variety of different situations and domains in our social, political and economic world, often making it difficult to grasp clearly defined conditions. Since transparency seemingly illustrates a concept with unparalleled possibilities of application, it was referred to as a ´buzzword´ throughout this volume. The contributions of this volume sought, however, to give more substance to the ‘buzzword’. In which fields of social life do matters of transparency come up? What specific role does it play? Do we understand it in an instrumental or consequential way? Who or what is at the focal point of transparency – individuals, public persons, institutions or professions? The answers to these questions, which seek to define the characteristics and criteria of transparency, and the expectations attached to the concept will differ from case to case. What is needed, therefore, is further refinement of what is actually meant when speaking about transparency. Such refinement is inevitably context-based. This is exactly what this volume aimed to do: it analyzes the concept of transparency within specific cases and attempts to show what implications it can have for individuals, politics, social media, international development aid and the pharmaceutical industry. In this regard, the approaches of our authors followed the rationale that transparency is not to be understood as a value in itself, but as instrumental in achieving specific objectives.