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Far from mere idle tales, rumors are a valuable window into our anxieties and fears. InThe Global Grapevine, two leading authorities on rumor, folklore, and urban legend-Gary Alan Fine and Bill Ellis-shed light on what contemporary rumors can tell us about the fears and pressures of globalization. In particular, they examine four major themes that emerge over and over again: rumors about terrorism, about immigration, about international trade, and about tourism. The authors analyze how various rumors underscore American reactions to perceived global threats, show how we interpret our changing world, and highlight fears, fantasies, and cherished beliefs about our place in the world. These rumors, the authors argue, are the visible tip of a vast iceberg of hidden anxieties. Illuminating the most widely circulated rumors in America in recent years,The GlobalGrapevineoffers an invaluable portrait of what these tales reveal about contemporary society.
Gary Alan Fine is John Evans Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University. His book, Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America was a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award.
Bill Ellis is Professor Emeritus of English and American Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society and has served as President of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research.