Rumors may be the oldest medium of mass communication of information or ideas. Even before there were newspapers, radio, or television, rumors communicated by word-of-mouth made and shattered reputations, and set off riots and wars. Yet contrary to predictions, rumors continue to thrive, in spite of and parallel to mass media.

What accounts for the puzzling persistence and continuing significance of this little-studied social phenomenon? Jean-No;el Kapferer examines the theory and practice of rumors, focusing on specific areas such as entertainment, criminal behavior, business and finance, and politics. He describes the kinds of conditions that give birth to rumors, why we believe them, and the hidden messages they convey. Kapferer points out that rumors frequently serve useful social purposes and present rich examples. He speculates about how rumors can be controlled, changed, and prevented.

Drawing upon contributions of disciplines ranging from psychology to history, and integrating the insights of Europeans with the latest work of American researchers, this is the most comprehensive examination of rumors, gossip, and urban legends yet published. Translated into nine languages, this edition was updated with advances in theory and research since the book's original French publication in 1987. Its brisk, accessible style makes the book of interest to psychologists, economists, political scientists, sociologists, and folklore analysts, as well as the general reader who is curious about the origins of this fascinating social phenomenon.



chapter 1|17 pages

A Fleeting Phenomenon

part I|110 pages

The Life and Death of Rumors

chapter 2|22 pages

How Rumors Are Born

chapter 3|23 pages

Rumors Run Rife

chapter 4

Why Do We Believe Rumors?

chapter 5|8 pages

Rumors: Their Public and Their Functions

chapter 6|12 pages


chapter 8|14 pages

The Eternal Return?

part II|34 pages

The Interpretation of Rumors

chapter 9|17 pages

The Message: Accidents and Necessities

chapter 10|16 pages

The Hidden Message

part III|66 pages

The Use of Rumors

chapter 11|13 pages

Crimes, Investigations, and Rumors

chapter 12|19 pages

Rumors and the Star System

chapter 13|8 pages

At the Factory and Office

chapter 14|12 pages

Rumors in Marketing

chapter 15|12 pages

Financial Rumors

chapter 16|12 pages

Political Rumors

part IV|36 pages

The Anti-Rumor

chapter 17|6 pages

Controlling Rumors

chapter 18|14 pages

Denials: A Perilous Art

chapter 19|11 pages

Changing a Rumor's Image

chapter 20

Preventing Rumors

chapter |2 pages