Mainstream public relations overvalues noise, sound and voice in public communication. But how can we explain that while practitioners use silence on a daily basis, academics have widely remained quiet on the subject? Why is silence habitually famed as inherently bad and unethical?
Silence is neither separate from nor the opposite of communication. The inclusion of silence on a par with speech and non-verbal means is a vital element of any communication strategy; it opens it up for a new, complex and more reflective understanding of strategic silence as indirect communication.
Drawing on a number of disciplines that see in silence what public relations academics have not yet, this book reveals forms of silence to inform public relations solutions in practice and theory. How do we manage silence? How can strategic silence increase the capacity of public relations as a change agent?
Using a format of multiple short chapters and practice examples, this is the first book that discusses the concept of strategic silence, and its consequences for PR theory and practice. Applying silence to communication cases and issues in global societies, it will be of interest to scholars and researchers in public relations, strategic communications and communication studies.
Is strategic silence simply strategic inaction, hiding something from someone, not telling the truth, overall bad thing? Or it is a more complex concept and central to the PR theory and PR practice as Rumen Dimitrov argues in his ground-breaking publication Strategic Silence: Public Relations and indirect communication? After reading the book, one is left definitely with a new understanding and vision on the enormous power of silence in communication - silence of public relations about its silences, the relation between strategy and silence, silence and indirect communication and strategic silences in plural.
Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO
This book shows that much remains to be done in the field of strategic communication, since for the first time silence as indirect communication and its fitting in the strategical dimension are analysed in detail. Dimitrov's work is not only pioneering; it is the most innovative and critical essay published in recent years. From a broader perspective, it is already an indispensable book for communication theory.
Jordi Xifra, Professor, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
This is a welcome addition to the stock of public relations literature, addressing a topic that is central to public relations practice, but has been widely neglected in scholarship until now. The importance of silence is continually under-estimated in public relations research yet, as Dimitrov points out, its presence saturates public relations work and merits investigation. Taking the reader on an eclectic journey characterised by an analytical approach that is both forensic and creative, Dimitrov incorporates traditional scholarship as well as insights from a sociology, psychology, philosophy, business, cultural studies – to name just a few of the disciplines – in order to understand the object of his attention. The result is a complex, engaging and academically rigorous book that should grace the shelves of anyone interested in public relations and promotional communication more broadly.
Lee Edwards, Associate Professor, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
Table of Contents
II WHY IS PR SILENT ABOUT SILENCE?
III STRATEGY AND SILENCE: MICHEL FOUCAULT, JEAN BAUDRILLARD, PIERRE BOURDIEU, STUART HALL, NORMAN FAIRCLOUGH AND JÜRGEN HABERMAS
IV INDIRECT COMMUNICATION
V STRATEGIC SILENCES
VI SILENCE BEYOND STRATEGY
Current academic thinking about PR and related communication is a lively, expanding marketplace of ideas and many scholars believe that it’s time for its radical approach to be deepened. Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research is the forum of choice for this new thinking. Its key strength is its remit, publishing critical and challenging responses to continuities and fractures in contemporary PR thinking and practice, tracking its spread into new geographies and political economies. It questions its contested role in market-orientated, capitalist, liberal democracies around the world, and examines its invasion of all media spaces, old, new, and as yet unenvisaged. The New Directions series has already published and commissioned diverse original work on: PR’s influence on Israeli and Palestinian nation building; its origins in the history of ideas; a Jungian approach to its ethics and professionalism; global perspectives on its professional practice; PR as an everyday language for everyone; as emotional labour; as communication in conflicted societies, and its relationships to cooperation, justice and paradox. We actively invite new contributions and offer academics a welcoming place for the publication of their analyses of a universal, persuasive mind-set that lives comfortably in old and new media around the world.