Book Chapter

Silence as a Form of Agency? Exploring the Limits of an Idea

B Fernandez

Ethical Responsiveness and the Politics of Difference | Palgrave Macmillan | Published : 2018


This paper explores the possible meanings of silence as a form of agency; specifically, I examine the agency of women who, in different ways, ‘refuse to speak’. Questions of agency occupy contentious terrain in feminist theory, development studies, and postcolonial studies, particularly when considered within analyses of intersecting axes of oppression. The premise of such analyses is that speech acts and practices indicate agential activity in the assertion of both overt and covert resistance to domination; silence is implicitly considered acquiescence. Here, I draw on narratives of feminist engagements in the Indian context to suggest that it may perhaps be possible to recuperate some aspe..

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