Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(715 words)

Rumor (Latin fama or rumor) is a form of collective communication that creates public spheres. Spread by hearsay, without a definable author and without being tied to a specific medium, rumors are publicly available elements of oral and written cultures. As uncontrolled speech, rumors address core cultural, social, political, and economic aspects of a society (Society [community]), which they comment on, criticize, correct, control, and regulate. Rumors arise in situations of crisis and thus constitute a central element of political, religious, and social public spheres.


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Hohkamp, Michaela, “Rumor”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 06 June 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_019987>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20210601

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