Carolyn Nordstrom and Antonius C. G. M. Robben

in Fieldwork Under Fire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1996 | ISBN: 9780520089938
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520915718 | DOI:

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One of the most common and also complicated problems of fieldwork on violence is how to deal with rumors. This chapter describes the ominous outburst of street violence in Mogadishu on July 14, 1989. It shows that misguidance and incongruence are the very stuff out of which history is written. It describes the conflicting rumors that buzzed around the capital and the social networks that were mobilized to gather and verify them. Rumor, this chapter shows, provided people in Somalia with a perspective on an unstable situation. It infused the political confusion with an unending flow of seemingly credible but immediately discredited rationales.

Keywords: violence; rumor; social networks; Mogadishu; fieldwork; Somalia

Chapter.  8701 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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