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15 - Conclusion: Topographies of the Said and Unsaid

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 June 2019

Amy Jo Murray
University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Kevin Durrheim
University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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The concluding chapter seeks to develop a model of how human talk and action can be simultaneously expressive and repressive, and for understanding how a collective and ideological unsaid may be produced by human action. We draw together the contributions to this book, showing how these identify “signs of silence” and develop an analysis of the unsaid from qualitative studies of social interaction. We use ideas from ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, and discourse analysis to explain how the said and unsaid provide the ground for normative and accountable conduct, which, in turn, provides the foundation for qualitative studies of silence. We exploit the topographical metaphor of a “discursive terrain,” likening human action to paths that emerge to channel conduct along the contours of the said, and which simultaneously constitute the untrodden hinterlands of the unsaid. This “stigmergic” model of discursive action allows us to imagine how to bridge divides that are evident in the chapters of the book and elsewhere: between the conditions and outcomes of action and between discursive and psychoanalytic conceptions of the unsaid.

Qualitative Studies of Silence
The Unsaid as Social Action
, pp. 270 - 292
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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