"Whereof one cannot speak...": Deceptive voices and agentive silences in the articulation of identities of the Moluccan postcolonial migrant community in the Netherlands
In theoretical and activist discourses concerning power and identity, “voice” is often used as a metaphor for empowerment (“we must raise our voices”), whereas silence is often used as voice’s negative counterpart, signifying a loss or lack of power (“we will no longer be silenced”). This dissertation starts from the consideration that not all ... voices are empowering, and not all silence signals powerlessness. There are voices that do not liberate us from but rather subject us to power: anything you say can be used against you. Silence, meanwhile, sometimes speaks louder than words. Silence can indicate dignity and agency, it can protect, disrupt and reconfigure: silence can be powerful. This consideration is developed into a theory of deceptive voices and agentive silences through five case studies, one per chapter, each of which analyses how voices and silences are deployed in particular articulations of Moluccan identity in the Netherlands.