17 May 2019: Listening for Silence: Absence and Lack in Political Thinking


Leiden University’s Central and East European Studies Center cordially invites you to attend the lecture

Listening for Silence: Absence and Lack in Political Thinking

by Michael Freeden (University of London)

The unthinkable, the unspeakable, the unknowable, and the unconceptualizable

Silence—as distinct from deliberate silencing—is a normal aspect of non-verbalized political language. It plays crucial roles in everyday political thinking, yet is notably undertheorized in political theory. Using historical and contemporary examples, the talk explores the unthinkable, the unspeakable, the unknowable, and the unconceptualizable, as well as the superimposition of voice on the silence of others, to identify fields of power, disruption, and cultural blockage, as well as the subtly complex idea of tacit consent.

About the speaker

Michael Freeden is currently Professional Research Associate at SOAS, University of London and Emeritus Professor of Politics, University of Oxford where he among others founded and directed the Centre for Political Ideologies. He is the world’s most renowned scholar in the field of political ideologies and the founder-editor of the Journal of Political Ideologies. Among his numerous influential publications are Ideology: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2003), Liberal Languages: Ideological Imaginations and Twentieth Century Progressive Thought (Princeton, 2005), The Political Theory of Political Thinking: The Anatomy of a Practice (Oxford: OUP, 2013; paperback, 2015). Liberalism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: OUP, 2015) and Conceptual History in the European Space (co-editor and contributor, with W. Steinmetz and J. Fernandez-Sebastian) (Berghahn: London and New York, 2017).