Although discourse theory tends to draw upon lofty examples, Discreet Indiscretions draws instead on one many consider inconsequential. Bergmann treats daily gossip, both friendly and malicious, as the genre of everyday communication and thereby in need of serious analysis. Utilizing discourse theory and ethnomethodology, this study shifts among several kinds of terrain: the sociology of language, the sociology of knowledge, and the sociology of culture. It rests on widespread individual observations on gossip in the existing literature of social science and on the investigation of real gossip recorded in conversations in the field, and reproduced here as transcribed segments. By exploring the complex relations of friendship and loyalty with respect to transmitting knowledge about the personal affairs of others, he develops his thesis: that gossip should be defined not as a control mechanism, but rather as the social organization of discreet indiscretions.