Self-censorship in the family: The double-edged sword of family secrets

Alona D Roded, Amiram Raviv

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter diverges from the central thread of this volume, which is concerned predominantly with self-censorship within the context of national groups and large-scale societies. In this chapter, we address the issue of self-censorship, or secrecy, in small and intimate settings, namely, in the family context. We focus on both continuities and discontinuities between the phenomenon of self-censorship in the family and in broader social contexts. We argue that self-censorship hinges on a central dialectic: between social affiliation on the one hand and personal autonomy on the other. We examine both the costs and advantages of self-censorship in the family at the individual, relationship, and systemic levels of analysis. We argue that both concealing information and sharing it can be used as psychosocial strategies for connecting to others and belonging to a social unit, as well as for individuation, “breaking ranks,” and assertion of one’s self, values, and commitments. Self-censorship is therefore a multifaceted, complex notion, involving the integration of principles of fairness, communication, trust, and control. This central dialectic tension between privacy and openness, secrecy and disclosure, self-censorship and transparency may also be related to other dialectical tensions, such as freedom and responsibility (i.e., rights and duties), that manifest not only in families but also in broader societal structures. Democratic societies, in particular, are concerned with maintaining a balance between individual freedoms and mutually shared commitments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSelf-Censorship in Contexts of Conflict
EditorsDaniel Bar-Tal, Nets-Zehngut Rafi , Keren Sharvit
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783319633787
ISBN (Print)9783319633770
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2017


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