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Silence as resistance to analysis: or, on not opening one's mouth properly

MacLure, Maggie and Holmes, Rachel and Jones, Liz and MacRae, Christina (2010) Silence as resistance to analysis: or, on not opening one's mouth properly. Qualitative Inquiry, 16 (6). pp. 492-500. ISSN 1552-7565

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The article engages with the problematic nature of silence and its tendency to trouble qualitative inquiry. Silence is frequently read as resistance—as an impediment to analysis or the emergence of an authentic voice. Rather than seeking methodological remedies for such impediments, the article dwells on, and in, the recalcitrance of silence. The authors read silence, via Derrida and Freud, as the trace of something Other at the heart of utterance—something intractable, unspeakable, unreasonable, unanalyzable. Silence confounds interpretation and manifests, intolerably, the illusory status of speech as full “presence” or living voice. Yet it also incites the search for meaning and is therefore productive. How might Method work with the alterity of silence, rather than seeking to cure or compensate for its necessary insufficiencies? The article is organized around three examples or parables of silence. Humor gets tangled up in the text further on.

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