Silence Outside the Repressive Paradigm: silence as a Condition for Public Exchanges

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Silence is often considered under the sign of repression or oppression, and as such, the result of forces hostile to democracy. In this paper we will try to demystify that unilateral image of silence, reviving the dialectic between silence and democracy in which the former operates as a foundational precondition for exchanges in the democratic public spheres. An increased awareness of the structures of silence will help us reflect upon what remains external to ongoing public discourses. Through a reading of Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida and Heidegger, it will be shown that understanding silence not as the passive negative of speaking, but as an active form of reflection, will help us become aware of what is pre-emptively excluded from discursive exchanges. It is argued that an awareness of this kind of silence can help us reflect upon the structures of public discourses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)233-249
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2021


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