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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the most recent theoretical and empirical insights into why people gossip, how gossip can be used to strategically alter reputation, and the consequences of gossip for power dynamics. The chapter reviews four fundamental motives/functions of gossip (group protection, social comparison, status enhancement/negative influence, and social bonding) and discusses their implications for status/power and reputation. The next section highlights recent group-level insights into gossip and reputation. The subsequent section clarifies the various ways gossip is enmeshed in the fabric of social hierarchies, thus serving as both an agent and outcome of power inequality. The conclusion of the chapter explores future directions and invites researchers to contribute to this fascinating area of study.

Keywords: gossip, reputation, power, group protection, social control, social comparison, status enhancement, social bonding, power inequality

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