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Hello ‘SocNet”:


I am contacting you hoping that perhaps you can point me in the direction of ideas or research with regards to the power of gossip in marginalized neighbourhoods.


Let me explain – I am responsible for crime prevention and community safety for the city of Ottawa, Canada.  One of our projects is developing support networks to help neighbourhoods recover from tragic incidents such as shootings and murders.  We funded some research on the topic of how trauma plays out in neighbourhoods because most work on trauma is very individually or clinically focused, but we are more interested in neighbourhoods and community.   The research entitled “Reactions to Trauma on a Community Level” is available on our website as are a number of other relevant community based research projects on neighbourhoods. 


One of the key findings in the research was the enormous power of negative gossip in marginalized neighbourhoods where many of these incidents take place.  This is destructive to the fabric of the community and to healing from traumatic events.   We released the research, and a few other things, at an event with 180 community workers and activists and the general consensus seemed to be that negative gossip really is a big problem.  I have no idea of how to address this, or even how to think about addressing it, there is lots of academic literature about community cohesion and gang prevention, but nothing mentions gossip.    Having asked many people where I should start – I was directed to your listserve.


So, I hope you don’t mind me reaching out, but if you have any ideas for me, it would be much appreciated.







Nancy Worsfold
Executive Director/Directrice génerale
Crime Prevention Ottawa/Prévention du crime Ottawa
613-580-2424 ext./poste 28518






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