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Manifesto for Silence

Confronting the Politics and Culture of Noise

Stuart Sim

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This book makes an urgent demand for silence. The ability to think, to reflect, and to create are all highly dependent on regular access to silence. Yet in today's noisy, 24/7 society silence and quiet are under threat. And the business world only makes this worse with cynical marketing strategies abusing the power of noise: ever-diminishing oases of calm are hard to find.

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Introduction. The Virtues of Silence: The Politics of Silence
Part I: The Politics and Culture of Noise
1 The Science and Technology of Silence
2 Marketing Noise
3 The Assault Against Silence and Why Silence Matters
Part II: The Virtues of Silence
4 Where Silence Matters: Religion
5 Where Silence Matters: Philosophy
6 The Aesthetics of Silence
7 Where Silence Matters: The Arts
8 Where Silence Matters: Literature
9 Where Silence Matters: Language and Speech
Conclusion: Campaigning for Silence

About the Author

Stuart Sim is retired Professor of Critical Theory at Northumbria University. He has published widely on critical theory, and is a Fellow of the English Association. Amongst his recent publications are The Lyotard Dictionary (2011), Addicted to Profit: Reclaiming Our Lives from the Free Market (2012), Fifty Key Postmodern Thinkers (2013), and, with Brett Wilson and Barbara Hawkins (eds) Art, Science & Cultural Understanding (2014).


I was in wholehearted agreement with much of this book, and its anguished defense of silence as a prerequisite for thought, contemplation, creativity, and perhaps even the development of character and individuality … [Stuart Sim] writes with admirable lucidity, often about matters of some subtlety.
- Anthony Daniels, The New Criterion
What a wonderful book! Sim's arresting treatment promises to wake people up to the importance of silence.
- Bob Brecher
Sim's point is not that silence is always preferable to noise, but that space must be made for it in modern life. ... in the chatter of voices proclaiming this, that and the other, a call to just shut up for a moment is worth listening to.
- Financial Times
Interesting book ... which has made me think again about certain figures in the arts whose work I previously thought pretentious.
- Rachel Cooke, Times Higher Education