Gary Alan Fine and Bill Ellis

in The Global Grapevine

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736317
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866458 | DOI:

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Rumor and legend are a culture's way of dealing with rapid changes in its worldview, such as has occurred in an America increasingly impacted by contact with the international world. Terrorism, immigration, tourism, and foreign trade are topics that have inspired cycles of rumors in the United States, while organ trafficking has done the same in developing nations. Both types of rumor are fundamentally political, as they allow common people to express issues that otherwise would be too disturbing to face and press for social change. The chapter introduces the importance of plausibility (stories that fit existing beliefs about foreigners) and credibility (stories that are based on some concrete truth and affirmed by respected authorities). It is necessary to confront these rumors directly, rather than dismissing them as trivial or ignorant, for they reveal how people actually see the changing world around them.

Keywords: rumor; legend; plausibility; credibility; terrorism; immigration; tourism; international trade

Chapter.  8101 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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