A sociology of nothing: understanding the unmarked

Scott, Susie (2018) A sociology of nothing: understanding the unmarked. Sociology, 52 (1). pp. 3-19. ISSN 0038-0385

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Nothing is a sociologically neglected terrain, comprising negatively defined phenomena, such as non-identification, non-participation and non-presence. Nevertheless, these symbolic social objects are created and managed through meaningful social interaction. Nothing is accomplished either by active commission (doing/being a non-something) or by passive omission (not-doing/not-being something). I explore these dichotomous forms through four dimensions of negative social space: non-identity; inactivity; absence; and silence. Paradoxically, nothing is always productive of something: other symbolic objects come into being through the apprehension of phantoms, imaginaries, replacements and alternatives, which generate further constitutive meanings. A sociological analysis illuminates these processes, revealing how much nothing matters.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Absence, emptiness, identity, invisibility, nothing, silence, Symbolic Interactionism
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Susie Scott
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2017 13:40
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 16:20
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67291

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