Witchcraft, Sorcery, Rumors, and Gossip combines two classic topics in social anthropology in a new synthesis: the study of witchcraft and sorcery and the study of rumours and gossip. It shows how rumour and gossip are invariably important as catalysts for accusations of witchcraft and sorcery, and demonstrates the role of rumour and gossip in the genesis of social and political violence, as in the case of both peasant rebellions and witch-hunts. Examples supporting the argument are drawn from Africa, Europe, India, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. They include discussions of witchcraft trials in Essex, England in the seventeenth century, witch-hunts and vampire narratives in colonial and contemporary Africa, millenarian movements in New Guinea, the Indian Mutiny in nineteenth-century Uttar Pradesh, and rumours of construction sacrifice in Indonesia.

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