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Qualitative Studies of Silence
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Book description

Qualitative Studies of Silence brings together influential qualitative researchers from across the social sciences and humanities who have sought to understand the power of what remains unsaid, both psychologically and socially. Each chapter identifies one or more signs of silence and explains how these can form the basis of a rigorous qualitative investigation. The authors also demonstrate how silences operate in our private and collective lives by fulfilling psychological, relational, institutional, and ideological functions. The book contains multiple disciplinary perspectives and presents analyses of wide-ranging topics, such as medical consultations, whistleblowers, silence in court, omission-as-propaganda, trauma survivors, the silence of war museums, racism in the Americas, gendered silences, paid domestic labour, the undocumented student movement, and the Nazi past. This collection shows how such qualitative studies can reveal and contribute to understanding the unsaid as social action.


'Probing the rhetorical and ideological functions of the unsaid in institutional and informal contexts, this ambitious, multidisciplinary collection provides ethnographic insight, practical methodological direction, and new theoretical framing - potent tools for gaining purchase on this slippery but powerful dimension of human sociality.'

Robin E. Sheriff - University of New Hampshire

'This book makes a significant contribution to discussions on affect theory, its relation to the body, and the implementation of what the authors describe as affective witnessing and later affective methodologies respectively. This is a thoughtful intervention into the world of silences without colonising this space with the noise of writing.'

Juliet Rogers - University of Melbourne, Australia

'This remarkable collection not only highlights the power of silence, but also reveals the key role of gender in the search for deeper meaning into both silence and voice. Qualitative Studies of Silence is a must-read in a new, exciting field of study.'

Jane Parpart - University of Massachusetts Boston

'This excellent book describes and explains the many functions and effects of silence in communication. The authors interpret the specificities of silence in conversation, which have frequently been neglected. This insightful volume constitutes a must-read for scholars and graduate students alike in the social sciences and beyond.'

Ruth Wodak - Chair of Discourse Studies, Lancaster University

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