Getting It All Out Into the Open

Karen J. Brison

in Just Talk

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 1992 | ISBN: 9780520077003
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912182 | DOI:
Getting It All Out Into the Open

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This chapter explores the way people use gossip and innuendo to influence others, but also argues that such talk can get out of hand and create problems which no one anticipated or desired. Rumors fly around the community and seem to take on a life of their own; they are distorted in certain predictable ways and can cause problems both for the perpetrator and for everyone else. Rumors can also escalate conflict so that trivial disputes can eventually become big fights involving most of the people in a village, or even members of more than one village. To check these destructive rumors, villagers hold long weekly meetings in which people sift through the evidence to try to figure out how much truth there is to rumors, and speakers try to deny whispered charges against themselves.

Keywords: gossip; innuendo; community; disputes; fights; village; meetings; evidence; rumors

Chapter.  11465 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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