Vol 6 - 7 (2011) Fama e infamia

Le virtù del pettegolezzo

Published July 12, 2011
How to Cite
Conte, R. (2011). Le virtù del pettegolezzo. Storia Delle Donne, 6(7), 31-45. https://doi.org/10.13128/SDD-9605


In this work a theory of gossip as a means for social control is proposed. Exercising social control roughly means to isolate and/or to punish cheaters. However, punishment is costly and it inevitably implies the problem of second-order cooperation. Moving from a cognitive model of social control and gossip, data from ethnographic studies and agent-based simulations are reported on to support the claim that gossip reduces the costs of social control without lowering its efficacy. Considerations about the enticement of gossip, and the contribution of the two genders to its provision are included.


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