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Just Talk – Gossip, Meetings, and Power in a Papua New Guinea Village - California Scholarship Online
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Just Talk: Gossip, Meetings, and Power in a Papua New Guinea Village

Karen Brison


This book examines the often overlooked role of gossip and rumor in creating power in small Melanesian communities. The Kwanga of the East Sepik Province of Papua, New Guinea think that malicious gossip is almost as dangerous as sorcery, and spend hours in community meetings, looking into rumors about sorcery, adultery, and other sources of trouble. To understand how “talk” can create and ultimately destroy the position of Melanesian leaders, the book follows discussions of particular situations over time, and suggests that gossip and rumor are just as central to shaping and shifting power rel ... More

Keywords: gossip, rumor, Melanesian communities, Kwanga, East Sepik Province, sorcery, adultery, leadership

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1992 Print ISBN-13: 9780520077003
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520077003.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Karen Brison, author