Maintaining inequality through 'being silent about' : a dyadic daily diary study establishing the presence of absence in domestic labour relationships.
Domestic labour relationships are structured by entanglement issues of gender, class, race and informal labour, producing profound inequality. This daily diary study accessed five domestic labour pairs, comprised of white employers and black live-in workers, to discursively establish and examine the presence of absence regarding inequality in their talk. However, because „being silent about‟ is an atypical form of silence, it was necessary to first establish the empirical status of this absence. Absence can be conceptualised and analysed both as a topic and as an accomplishment of conversation. Generalisations across the data inform a social psychological approach to understanding the dynamics of the unsaid, which also contributes to the empirical status of this silence. The topicalisation and accomplishment of „being silent about‟ essentially keeps troubling topics invisible through collaborative, polite talk, allowing the ideology of inequality to remain unchallenged and intact between speakers and within social life.