Silence, exit and the politics of piety: challenging logocentrism in political theory

Sophia Dingli, Sameera Khalfey

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    This chapter rejects the reduction of the phenomenon of silence in political life to violence. In the first section of the chapter we trace the reductive conceptualisation and subsequent lack of theoretical engagement with the phenomenon of silence, to the logocentric understanding of legitimacy developed in Western political thought in response to the ontology of the unbound subject. The chapter juxtaposes works of feminist international political theory that provide problematic readings of silence, with the intentional practices of silence-as-exit, performed by Muslim women in the context of the resurgence of piety in Egypt, Turkey and beyond. In so doing, we aim to illustrate that the prevailing understanding of silence in political theory is bound by an equally particular hermeneutic horizon as that which informs Muslim women’s decision to exit the political. This allows us to highlight the importance of reconceptualising silence in general and silence-as-exit in particular, and to highlight the questions raised, specifically in relation to the issue of legitimacy and ethics, as a result.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPolitical Silence: Meanings, Functions and Ambiguity
    EditorsSophia Dingli, Thomas N. Cooke
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315104928
    ISBN (Print)9781138097353
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2018

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