Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Elephant in the RoomSilence and Denial in Everyday Life$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Eviatar Zerubavel

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195187175

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195187175.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2020

Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence

(p.61) Chapter Five Breaking the Silence
The Elephant in the Room

Eviatar Zerubavel

Oxford University Press

This chapter emphasizes the collaborative nature of conspiracies of silence, illustrating how each conspirator's actions are symbiotically complemented by the others'. Breaking a conspiracy of silence involves acknowledging the presence of the elephant in the room, by making the elephant's presence part of the public discourse. Publicity critically acts in preventing and counteracting denial. Like silence itself, breaking it is a collaborative endeavor that involves an entire social system. For a conspiracy of silence to actually end, there ultimately need to be no more conspirators left to keep it alive. The situation of being in a minority and facing the majority's pressure to maintain a conspiracy of silence becomes more pronounced as the number of conspirators increases. Conspirators of silence may try to actively divert attention away from silence breakers or ask everybody around to “move on” and not “dwell on” the elephants they exposed.

Keywords:   silence, breaking, conspiracy, elephant, publicity, conspirators, denial

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .