The Materiality of Rumor

Jenna Burrell

in Materiality and Organizing

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199664054
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745423 | DOI:
The Materiality of Rumor

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This chapter examines a false rumor about an impending earthquake spread face to face and by mobile phone in Ghana on the night of January 18, 2010. Rumors present an intriguing challenge to materialist accounting because of the fundamental nonmateriality of the rumor itself as a circulating tale of an event or happening that often proves illusory. However, this belies the powerful material force frequently generated in the wake of rumor, for example, in the mass movement of populations, collective boycotts, or even riots or physical attacks that sometimes follow. A study of rumor as a special oral genre with such peculiar properties lends itself to a broader reconsideration of speech and representation and the tie between materiality and discursivity.

Keywords: rumor; discursivity; Ghana; actor network theory; ontology

Chapter.  7591 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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