Rumour and other narratives of political violence in West Papua. Critique of Anthropology 22 (1): 53-79, 2002. This article addresses the neglected subject of political violence in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya, known locally as West Papua. It asks how this regime of political violence is reproduced in and through representations of culture, gender and difference. It argues that rumours about state-sponsored violence contribute to both the experience and expression of terror. It examines how West Papuans understand, subvert and imagine alternatives to the political and symbolic forms of violence in which they are enmeshed. Finally, it compares rumour to ethnographic accounts and human rights reports, arguing that anthropologists have both political and ethnographic responsibilities to bear witness to political violence and the mechanisms through which it is reproduced as terror.

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