1st Edition

Political Silence Meanings, Functions and Ambiguity

Edited By Sophia Dingli, Thomas N. Cooke Copyright 2019
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    The notion of ‘silence’ in Politics and International Relations has come to imply the absence of voice in political life and, as such, tends to be scholastically prescribed as the antithesis of political power and political agency. However, from Emma Gonzáles’s three minutes of silence as part of her address at the March for Our Lives, to Trump’s attempts to silence the investigation into his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia, along with the continuing revelations articulated by silence-breakers of sexual harassment, it is apparent that there are multiple meanings and functions of political silence – all of which intersect at the nexus of power and agency.

    Dingli and Cooke present a complex constellation of engagements that challenge the conceptual limitations of established approaches to silence by engaging with diverse, cross-disciplinary analytical perspectives on silence and its political implications in the realms of: environmental politics, diplomacy, digital privacy, radical politics, the politics of piety, commemoration, international organization and international law, among others. Contributors to this edited collection chart their approaches to the relationship between silence, power and agency, thus positing silence as a productive modality of agency.

    While this collection promotes intellectual and interdisciplinary synergy around critical thinking and research regarding the intersections of silence, power and agency, it is written for scholars in politics, international relations theory, international political theory, critical theory and everything in between.

    Political Silence, an introduction

    Thomas N. Cooke and Sophia Dingli

    1. Noise, Data, Silence, Privacy

    Thomas N. Cooke

    2. The Global Politics of Silence and Sound: From Metaphor to Metonymy

    Noè Cornago

    3. Silence, Exit and the Politics of Piety: Challenging Logocentrism in Political Theory

    Sophia Dingli and Sameera Khalfey

    4. Silence is Golden: Commemorating the Past in Two Minutes

    Faye Donnelly

    5. Silence as Doing

    Xavier Guillaume and Elisabeth Schweiger

    6. A Deliberate Silence: The Politics of Aural Materialism

    Adam T. Kingsmith

    7. Agency Without Voice? A Political Ecology of Vegetal Silence

    Karl Petschke

    8. Silence as Relation in Music: Two Political Applications in Early Modern Times

    Frédéric Ramel

    9. Transgressive Silence: Ecology, Religion and the Power of Humility in the Practice of Diplomacy

    David J. Wellman

    Residual Silence: Toward a Radical Activist Politics of Association

    Robert Latham


    Sophia Dingli is a lecturer in International Relations at the University of Glasgow. Her work focuses on the relation of silence to politics, concentrating particularly on its relation to modern understandings of legitimacy, good government and order.

    Thomas N. Cooke is a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada post-doctoral fellow at the Surveillance Studies Centre, Queen’s University. Cooke’s research meets at the intersection of digital privacy, Big Data, Internet surveillance and the philosophy of noise.