Conclusion: Rumor and legend: Seven questions

Chip Heath, Véronique Campion-Vincent, Gary Alan Fine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


A common belief among the public is that rumor is inevitably and inherently false, yet the scholarly definition of rumor as "unsecured information" does not assume that rumors must be false. Rumor research that treats rumors as social exchange predicts that people would not knowingly exchange information that they do not believe. Traditionally folklorists have carefully distinguished among genres of folklore, separating rumors from legend from tales; in contrast, social scientists have not been so careful in distinguishing genres and have sometimes argued that such distinctions may be misleading. Taxonomies can be useful because they allow scholars to see similarities among rumors that they might otherwise ignore. Rumor is often embedded within social institutions–educational, religious, medical, economic, or political–and the claims rumors make may support or resist the needs of those institutions. Rumor is often metaphorically likened to the human life span–birth, growth, and demise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRumor Mills
Subtitle of host publicationThe Social Impact of Rumor and Legend
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781351492522
ISBN (Print)0202307468, 9780202307473
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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