Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Technology
Following on the productive SLA session approaching silence as social action in digitally-mediated contexts, this panel builds on feedback, ongoing research, and additional panelist contributions to further engage with the ways in which situated silences taken on new and different meanings in screen-based communication.
Taking a cue from classic situated approaches to silence in face-to-face contexts (Basso 1970, Zimmerman & West 1975, Bauman 1983, Sattel 1983, Sorrels 1983, Tannen & Saville-Troike 1985, Gal 1991, DeFrancisco 1991), as well as more recent engagements with the pragmatics of silence in conversation (c.f. Ephratt 2008, Frimpong 2010, Benus et al 2011, Heydon 2011, Haddix 2012, Hoey 2017), we aim to grapple with such questions as: how is silence produced, experienced, and understood in mediated spaces? How are communicative gaps felt and managed in digital, real-time interaction? When is non-participation in online circulating discourses made relevant as silence? Building on the SLA Social Justice Task Force's 2015 blog post reflecting on the problematics of online (non)responses to social injustice, how are the various possible political and personal meanings of silence—suppression, complicity, power, judgment, avoidance, comfort, and so on—reconfigured in mediated interaction?
In carrying the classic work of scholars of silence-in-language into screen-based settings, our panelists address the relevance of non-participation vis-à-vis viral hashtags on social media; the place of silence in resistance to and navigation around language policing online; the role of new media editors in silencing or amplifying voices; ideological framings and functions of silence across communicative modes; and the pragmatics of managing silence in real-time digitally-mediated interaction.