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Materiality and OrganizingSocial Interaction in a Technological World$
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Paul M. Leonardi, Bonnie A. Nardi, and Jannis Kallinikos

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664054.001.0001

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The Materiality of Rumor

The Materiality of Rumor

Chapter:
(p.315) 16 The Materiality of Rumor
Source:
Materiality and Organizing
Author(s):

Jenna Burrell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664054.003.0016

This chapter examines a false rumor about an impending earthquake spread face to face and by mobile phone in Ghana on the night of January 18, 2010. Rumors present an intriguing challenge to materialist accounting because of the fundamental nonmateriality of the rumor itself as a circulating tale of an event or happening that often proves illusory. However, this belies the powerful material force frequently generated in the wake of rumor, for example, in the mass movement of populations, collective boycotts, or even riots or physical attacks that sometimes follow. A study of rumor as a special oral genre with such peculiar properties lends itself to a broader reconsideration of speech and representation and the tie between materiality and discursivity.

Keywords:   rumor, discursivity, Ghana, actor network theory, ontology

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