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Just TalkGossip, Meetings, and Power in a Papua New Guinea Village$
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Karen Brison

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520077003

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520077003.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 01 August 2021

Getting It All Out Into the Open

Getting It All Out Into the Open

(p.94) Chapter Five Getting It All Out Into the Open
Just Talk

Karen J. Brison

University of California Press

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

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