Good Gossip

Good Gossip

by Robert F. Goodman
     
 

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As ubiquitous and influential as gossip is, it has been surprisingly downplayed as a topic of philosophical, psychological, and sociological investigation and debate.

In Good Gossip, twenty-two scholars from several disciplines turn a professional eye to that much-maligned yet heavily practiced form of conversation. Going beyond merely trying to explain a

Overview

As ubiquitous and influential as gossip is, it has been surprisingly downplayed as a topic of philosophical, psychological, and sociological investigation and debate.

In Good Gossip, twenty-two scholars from several disciplines turn a professional eye to that much-maligned yet heavily practiced form of conversation. Going beyond merely trying to explain a previously ignored human behavior, many of them argue that gossip has unexpected virtues. They show how it contributes to community cohesion and helps individuals better understand their own predicaments, problems, and personal idiosyncrasies in light of knowledge about the life experiences of others. Without gossip, the authors show, we would have no access to such knowledge.

Gossip also serves as a mode by which people resist and subvert power in a world that would otherwise seem overpowering. People gossip about the rich and famous in order to "cut them down to size," and informal gossip networks help overcome the depersonalizing tendencies of modern society.

Provocative and varied, this book looks at gossip from diverse angles by including essays on gossip and humor, logic, morality, privacy, legal and medical issues, feminism, history, rumors, and reputation. Although many of the authors conclude that gossip has a positive aspect that ought to be encouraged rather than prohibited, the collection as a whole does not constitute an unqualified vindication of gossip, but rather paves the way for future debate on this omnipresent pastime.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Scholars from various disciplines consider gossip in relation to humor, logic, morality, privacy, legal and medical issues, feminism, history, rumor, and reputation in this collection of essays suggesting that gossip has unexpected virtues. Topics include gossip in Medieval society, and the role of medical gossip and rumor in the lay referral system. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700606702
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
01/28/1994
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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