Gossip and the Everyday Production of Politics

Although gossip is disapproved of across the world’s societies, it is a prominent feature of sociality, whose role in the construction of society and culture cannot be overestimated. In particular, gossip is central to the enactment of politics: through it people transform difference into inequality and enact or challenge power structures. Based on author Niko Besnier’s intimate ethnographic knowledge of Nukulaelae Atoll, Tuvalu, Gossip and the Everyday Production of Politics uses an analysis of gossip as political action to develop a holistic understanding of a number of disparate themes, including conflict, power, agency, morality, emotion, locality, belief, and gender. It brings together two methodological traditions—the microscopic analysis of unelicited interaction and the macroscopic interpretation of social practice—that are rarely wedded successfully.

July 2009 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3338-1 / $49.00 (CLOTH)