The Power of Silence: Silent Communication in Daily Life

Author(s) : Colum Kenny

The Power of Silence: Silent Communication in Daily Life

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Colum Kenny explores the significance of silence in the arts, business, personal relationships, therapy, faith, politics, and other areas of daily life.

This book demonstrates that silence is eloquent, powerful, beautiful and even dangerous. It surrounds and permeates our daily lives.

Drawing on a wide range of cross-cultural, literary and historical sources, the author explores the uses and abuses of silence. He explains how silence is not associated with solitude alone but has a much broader value within society.

The main themes of The Power of Silence are positive and negative uses of silence, and the various ways in which silence has been understood culturally, socially and spiritually. The book's objectives are to equip people with a better appreciation of the value of silence and to enable them to explore its benefits and uses more easily for themselves.

Reviews and Endorsements

'This book insightfully demonstrates itself as the prime paradox: charged words explaining why silence matters so much, and how it can be used to communicate what words cannot say. Summing Up: recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.'
- Choice: Current Review for Academic Libraries (February 2012)

'Kenny finds a way to break up the density of his subject with easy-to-follow chapters exploring his multifaceted labour of love. This book is a wonderful whistle-stop tour of its theme.'
- The Sunday Independent (19 February 2012)

'Kenny's book does an excellent job of theorizing (a heady brew of philosophy, linguistics and psychology) and exploring the crucial role that silence plays in a host of human endeavours.'
- The Catholic Herald (12 January 2012)

'Silence and words don't necessarily do well together; which is why I'm grateful to Colum Kenny.. His book, as its chapter headings reveal, explores many aspects of silence. The opening chapter boasts a magpie collection of quotes around the topic, drawing on sources from Menander through Montaigne to Ennio Morricone. He unpicks theories of silence proposed by linguists, philosophers and psychoanalysts.'
- The Irish Times (4 July 2011)

'A brilliant and inspiring book that clearly illustrates how silence has shaped history and culture as much as the spoken word has.'
- Gillian Wearing, artist, and winner of the Turner Prize for Sixty-Minute Silence

'Kenny's book will be invaluable for anyone who wants to explore the richness and complexity of silence in a wide range of social domains and activities. Silence emerges as a multifaceted resource with which we create meaning and a powerful metaphor through which we can gain understanding of the surrounding world. The Power of Silence will engage readers and enrich their experience of this most ineffable of all the communicative forms.'
- Prof. Adam Jaworski, Centre for Language and Communication Research, Cardiff University

'Kenny moves the reader to fully appreciate the beauty in silences of peaceful interconnection, those that make music ebb and flow, and the therapeutic silences of self-knowledge. He shows the multifaceted nature of silence and the profound importance of context in understanding its meaning.'
- Dr Heidi M. Levitt, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts

'Engaging, thought-provoking, and full of fascinating detail, this is a must-read for anyone intrigued by the place of silence in today's increasingly noisy world. Kenny's crisp writing skillfully illuminates the many faces of silence.'
- Dr Jolyon Mitchell, Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Edinburgh

'An impressively wide-ranging and informative survey of the joys and dangers of silence as cultural concept and practice. Kenny draws the reader into this fascinating topic with the breadth of his scholarship and even-handedness of his judgements.'
- Professor Stuart Sim, Author of Manifesto for Silence: Confronting the Politics and Culture of Noise

About the Author(s)

Professor Colum Kenny, BCL, PhD, barrister-at-law, is chair of the Masters in Journalism programme at the School of Communications, Dublin City University. He also coordinates an interdisciplinary module entitled Belief and Communication. A board member of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and of the EU Media Desk in Dublin, Kenny contributes frequently to public debates about culture and society. The author of eight books, he is married with three sons and lives in Bray, Co. Wicklow.

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