The Social Structure of Denial
This chapter describes the sociological perspective of co-denial. Co-denial assumes mutual avoidance. As the foremost expression of co-denial, silence is a collective endeavour, and it involves a collaborative effort on the parts of both the potential generator and recipient of a given piece of information to stay away from it. The “double wall” of silence was originally theorized by psychologist Dan Bar-On. Walls of silence are often more than double, since the number of those who participate in such conspiracies is by no means limited to two. Moreover, the structural features of social relations and social situations are explained. Silent bystanders act as enablers. The intensity of silence is influenced not only by the number of people who conspire to maintain it, but also by the length of time they manage to do so. “Elephants” usually grow with time, their figurative size hence reflecting their age.
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