This paper considers the role of gossip and social interaction among the Kelabit of Sarawak, Malaysia Focusing on gossip in everyday life, the paper explores the tension between desires for individual privacy, concerns for group cohesion and, more broadly, desires to adopt a more modern style of living and social interaction. These tensions are vividly manifested in discourses about the problematic nature of gossip in the Kelabit community. Critical to this is a discussion of Kelabit styles of interpersonal interaction and conflict management, including the role of meditation. Offering a range of examples illustrating the social contexts of Kelabit gossip, this paper focuses on meta-discourses of gossip, contestations of community life, and gossip as a motivating force affecting decisions relation to choices of group affiliation.
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Amster, Matthew. 2004. “The ‘Many Mouths’ of Community: Gossip and Social Interaction among the Kelabit of Borneo,” Asian Anthropology 3: 97-127.