This book provides a theoretical account of a variety of different communicative aspects of silence and explores new ways of studying socially-motivated language.
A research overview shows the influence of related work in the fields of media studies, politics, gender studies, aesthetics and literature. The author argues that in theoretically pragmatic terms, silence can be accounted for by the same principles as those of speech. A later, more applied section of the book explores the power of silencing in politics. A concluding chapter shows the importance of silence beyond linguistics and politics in terms of artistic expression. The approach is intentionally eclectic in order to explore the concept of silence as a rich and powerful tool of communication and to explain how it works. The theories of Brown and Levinson (politeness), Leach (taboo), Rosch (prototypes) and Sperber and Wilson (relevance) are incorporated.