The Circulation of Chisme and Rumor: Gossip, Evidentiality, and Authority in the Perspective of Latino Labor Migrants in Israel


Departments of Anthropology and Linguistics
University of Chicago
1126 E. 59th Ave
Chicago, IL 60637


Cross-culturally, the types of interactions that anthropologists have studied as “gossip” or “rumor” are opposed to types that constitute more authoritative texts. Instead of using participant structures to define such types of interactions, this opposition is used as a means to consider the evidential function of such descriptors. The discussion considers these issues from the perspective of non-Jewish, Latino labor migrants in Israel, whose usage of chisme (“gossip”) versus rumor (“rumor”) maps to in-group and out-group sources. The paper further considers how such frames were used in a short-lived weekly magazine, centered on the ritual chronotope of La Cancha (the soccer field), and also how a denunciation was quashed by producing an authoritative voice that condemned it as “chisme.” [gossip, evidentiality, authority, publicity, voice]