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The Elephant in the Room – Silence and Denial in Everyday Life - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life

Eviatar Zerubavel


The fable of the Emperor's New Clothes is a classic example of a conspiracy of silence, a situation where everyone refuses to acknowledge an obvious truth. But the denial of social realities—whether incest, alcoholism, corruption, or even genocide—is no fairy tale. This book sheds light on the social and political underpinnings of silence and denial—the keeping of “open secrets.” The author shows that conspiracies of silence exist at every level of society, ranging from small groups to large corporations, from personal friendships to politics. He also shows how such conspiracies evolve, illumi ... More

Keywords: Emperor's New Clothes, conspiracy of silence, incest, alcoholism, corruption, genocide, denial, open secrets, social pressures, truths

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780195187175
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195187175.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Eviatar Zerubavel, author
Rutgers University