Political Silence: Meanings, Functions and Ambiguity, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Political Silence

Meanings, Functions and Ambiguity, 1st Edition

Edited by Sophia Dingli, Thomas N. Cooke


198 pages

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pub: 2018-11-06
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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.

Table of Contents

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

About the Editors

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.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins (jennyedkins@hotmail.com) and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (N.Vaughan-Williams@Warwick.ac.uk).

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory