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Introduction

  • Melani Schröter
  • Charlotte Taylor
Chapter
Part of the Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse book series (PSDS)

Abstract

This chapter sets out the drive behind this volume: the need for systematic approaches to the identification of absence and silence in discourse. It argues that the lack of empirical research in this area, first of all, prevents a better understanding of the phenomena of absence in discourse and communication and, second, it prevents a better understanding of discourse itself. In framing the subsequent chapters, the introduction serves to propose some conceptual clarification, not least a differentiation between silence and absence in so far as they can be regarded as relevant to linguistic and discourse analysis. It also discusses a variety of manifestations of silence that are relevant to discourse analysts and which have been noted in previous literature on the subject as it helps to develop the proposal of how to differentiate between silence and absence and how both can be meaningful in discourse. Following this, empirical approaches to the study of silence and absence as presented in this volume are outlined, with reference to similar approaches in previous studies. The aim here is to point out this volume’s contribution to (1) the study of silence from a discourse analysis angle; and (2) the development of a methodological toolkit to analyse silence and absence which this volume aims to inaugurate.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melani Schröter
    • 1
  • Charlotte Taylor
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.University of SussexFalmerUK

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