The Global Grapevine: Why Rumors of Terrorism, Immigration, and Trade Matter

Gary Alan Fine*, Bill Ellis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook

70 Scopus citations


Now that increased internationalism has challenged the traditional worldviews of many Americans, concerns and fears abound concerning the potential danger posed by contact with foreigners. During the period when rapid change occurs, this new relationship with the rest of the world is initially explored through rumors and legends. Some of these stories are fantastic; many of them are inaccurate; but all of them reflect Americans' first hesitant steps to understand their new place on the globe. This book calls for a close and fair reading of several cycles of rumors on their own terms: as a culture's first efforts to express difficult and painful opinions about the transformation it feels itself undergoing. This book surveys the ways in which the impact of Islamist terrorism and increased Latino immigration have been seen through a filter of stereotype and conspiracy theory. It also presents ways in which tourism and the dangers of international trade also expose Americans' attitudes toward foreigners. Finally, it shows how Americans, in turn, are the targets of similar rumors abroad, as illustrated by widespread claims of organ trafficking. Rumors can't simply be dismissed as trivial or ignorant, the book concludes, but as our best source of what Americans define as the real practical issues facing the nation as it enters a world increasingly made smaller by trade and communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages272
ISBN (Electronic)9780199866458
ISBN (Print)9780199736317
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Conspiracy
  • Immigration
  • International trade
  • Internationalism
  • Legend
  • Rumor
  • Stereotype
  • Terrorism
  • Tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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