Talk and silence: instantiations and articulations

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Kuhling, Carmen
Keohane, Kieran
Kavanagh, Donncha
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University of Leicester
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This paper considers the desire for unity, reconciliation and consensus underpinning three models of talking – namely, 'the meeting', 'the dyadic love relationship', and 'the psychoanalytic session'. We highlight the three domains’ shared intellectual and historical heritage wherein talk is seen as a mode of achieving unity (of the group, of the dyad, or of the self) and conversely 'silence' is seen as pathology. Through looking at the role of silence in the works of Lacan, Joyce, and Beckett, we then examine how conversations with a collective, an Other, the self, etc. can all be enriched by ambivalence, antagonism and, in particular, silence. In contrast to the conventional understanding, silence is not the 'end' of understanding, but rather a new beginning. From this perspective, silence can be the basis upon which we can begin to imagine a principled relationship with the Other.
Organization , Theory , Groups , Lacan
Kuhling, C., Keohane, K. and Kavanagh, D. (2003) 'Talk and Silence: Instantiations and Articulations'. Ephemera, 3(4), pp. 288-305.