Rumors: Uses, Interpretations, and Images

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Transaction Publishers, Dec 31, 2011 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 295 pages
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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-Nöel 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.

  

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Contents

How Rumors Are Born
19
Rumors Run Rife
41
Why Do We Believe Rumors
65
Their Public and Their Functions
87
Actors
95
The End of Rumors and the Meaning of Silence
107
The Eternal Return?
113
Accidents and Necessities
129
At the Factory and Office
183
Rumors in Marketing
191
Financial Rumors
203
Political Rumors
215
Controlling Rumors
229
A Perilous Art
235
Changing a Rumors Image
249
Preventing Rumors
259

The Hidden Message
145
Crimes Investigations and Rumors
163
Rumors and the Star System
177

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About the author (2011)

Jean-Noël Kapferer is professor of marketing at École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Paris and is internationally recognized as one of the most influential leading brand experts. He is the author of over a dozen books, including Strategic Brand Managementand The Luxury Strategy: Break the Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands.

 

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