Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter elaborates on prior work to outline the role of silence not only in forgetting but also in memory. It documents two forms of silence: overt silence and covert silence and discusses how each can be used to enhance either memory or forgetting. In its overt manifestations, silence is characterized by a complete absence of speech. Such silence can foster forgetting by obliterating any mention of particular events or people. Overt silences, however, can also foster memory by demarcating a sacred space for quiet contemplation. Covert silences, on the other hand, inhere in—and are often veiled by—much mnemonic talk. These silences are found in commemorative activities where agents of memory want to recollect the past while minimizing its potentially conflictual elements. They can also be used by agents of forgetting who wish to erase the past while presenting the appearance of commemorating it. The chapter concludes by discussing the various ways in which each of these forms of silence can be broken. In outlining these processes, it highlights the central role played by silence in both collective memory and forgetting.

Keywords: silence, collective memory, forgetting, breaking the silence, overt silence, covert silence

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.