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The Global Grapevine: Why Rumors of Terrorism, Immigration, and Trade Matter Hardcover – June 11, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0199736317 ISBN-10: 0199736316 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fine (Whispers on the Color Line), John Evans professor of sociology at Northwestern, and Ellis, professor emeritus at Penn State, examine the rumors and legends that circulate about the risks of our interconnected world in their treatment of the most ancient source of news. The authors explore its influence in the intimidating global community of the 21st century, particularly in the arenas of terrorism, immigration, international trade, and tourism; they make a generally persuasive case that since rumor shapes how people think and then respond to the world, its propagation is a fundamentally political act. Relying on shards of evidence, bits and pieces of hearsay, the self-styled rumor scholars analyze an array of contemporary rumors and draw some unremarkable conclusions: e.g., Americans are of several minds about immigration, have mixed feelings about the exotic, and are anxious about the economic impact of international trade. Even if Fine and Ellis promise more than they deliver, there is much that adds to our understanding of rumor in an era when access to information (and misinformation) has never been faster or more constant. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review


"There is much that adds to our understanding of rumor in an era when access to information (and misinformation) has never been faster or more constant."-Publishers Weekly


"A flat world allows bad ideas to travel faster. Using illustrations ranging from the history of the vampire to modern rumors about terrorism, Gary Alan Fine and Bill Ellis explain what happens when cultures collide and they make you a smarter citizen of an increasingly connected world. If you want to spot the next whopper that appears in your in-box (or springs from the mouth of a television commentator) this book is essential."--Chip Heath, author Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die


"In this readable, insightful book, Fine and Ellis offer a tight analysis of loose talk. They show how seemingly unrelated rumors--9-11 conspiracy theories, warnings about dangerous imported goods, and stories about stolen body parts--reveal a common theme: many people's discomfort regarding their growing experience with and exposure to what strikes them as foreign. Other analysts may cheer that the world is shrinking and getting flatter, but the stories we tell one another suggest that globalization remains pretty scary for lots of folks."--Joel Best, author of Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data


"This is a brilliant piece of cultural criticism. Fine and Ellis rigorously scrutinize the rampant paranoid rumors of our time, explaining how and why these fantasies form, what they mean, and how we should deal with them. Everyone who listens to talk radio or uses the Internet should read this book."--Jan Harold Brunvand, author of Encyclopedia of Urban Legends


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199736316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199736317
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.2 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,141,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Milligan on June 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The subtitle of the book is why rumors of terrorism, immigration and trade matter. Why they matter is what makes this book so compelling. Rumors have led to actions, our authors tell us as they explore the historical threads of current legends. And those actions have not always been pretty, which is why it is important to both recognize rumors as such when we hear or read them and turn on our critical thinking caps. Among other things, the book provides a detailed account of turmoil in Hazleton, Pennsylvania when an influx of Latino migrants moved there attracted by jobs at a new meatpacking plant. Their large numbers began to change the character of the town, fueling rumors that set old townspeople against new, inspired the establishment of English only laws, and put the mayor of this small city in the national spotlight. In another chapter we learn how rumors related to the global trafficking of body parts have become widespread in poorer, less developed countries and so widely believed by some that they've become actionable. Unwitting tourists from wealthy countries have found themselves chased and attacked by protective residents after having innocently shown affectionate interest in the indigenous children. Residents of big, sophisticated cities are not immune to falling prey to rumors either as is described in recounting some of the rumors the attack on the World Trade Center spawned and the conspiracy theories that followed. The authors do more than recount these events, they provide the background necessary to understand why these and other rumors are believed.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wonderiss on January 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought this book for a class. If it had not been a required reading, I would have stopped reading it about 1/4 of the way through. Not enjoyable, in my opinion.
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