Event: Rumors Workshop

Rumors have an exceptional impact in today’s fast-paced, fractured global information environment. They shape and are shaped by preconceived notions. Next year, the Centre of Excellence for National Security at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore is holding a workshop on the political and social impact of rumors.

This workshop aims to explore the social functions and possible impact of rumour, an aspect of what can be broadly termed informal communication (rumours, urban legends, gossip, jokes, conspiracy theories, etc). Rumours can be understood as unverified or ‘unsecured’ propositions and are often typified as collective transactions that communities engage in to bring definition to ambiguous situations. As expressions of belief or plausibility they can often run counter to official (or formal) communications. Some researchers have explored the possible negative social impact of rumours or gossip. Conversely, an understanding of the potential effects of informal communication may help those working in strategic communication to better understand the beliefs, perceptions, and concerns of particular communities. …

Some of the questions and areas we hope to explore in this workshop are:

  • Rumours, Gossip, Urban Legends, Jokes, Conspiracy Theories
    What are the distinctions between these various types of informal communication?

    What are the political implications of rumour?

  • Belief and Plausibility
    What role does rumour play in the formation of beliefs?
    In what ways does plausibility differ between communities? How does it change over time? Why?
    What is the sensemaking nature of rumour?

  • Trust
    Does rumour et al affect levels of trust within or between communities?

  • Collective Behaviour
    What is the role of rumour in collective behaviour?
    Is the impact of rumour necessarily negative?

  • Strategic Communication
    Can rumour create resistance to strategic communication efforts?
    How best to integrate and understanding of rumours et al into strategic communication efforts?

The call for papers has passed (it is my fault this wasn’t posted earlier), but if you have an exceptional and stellar proposal, they might entertain it. Visit the website for more.

I look forward to the book they’ll produce from the papers.