Socially Constructed Silence

1) A tacit agreement not to talk about a particular subject.

2) A way to avoid a topic or make denial a social norm.

3) A way to make the repression of thoughts about a topic a default behavior so that the avoidance of that topic can continue indefinitely.

A socially constructed silence is a social norm where the avoidance of a topic is established through a variety of cues. People are afraid to violate this social norm and so the silence on the topic is upheld.

What Are Your Choices?

What can you do? Here are some choices that are available to you.

1) Share this definition with others.

2) You can alert others to the existence of the socially constructed silence on a topic.

3) Because the social cues that impose this silence are tacit, you can choose to be oblivious of them and discuss the topic as though doing so were not a taboo but, in fact, justified by the importance of the topic.