Conspiracy theories and power: five perspectives


Conspiracy theories are fascinating. Beyond the flat-earth brigade and posthumous sightings of Elvis Presley, many claim they have become a mainstream political tool that obscures the truth and exploits the vulnerable.

Others believe that conspiracies begin with the erosion of public trust. Wherever you stand, conspiracy theories exist at every level of public life. We’ve rounded up five of the most interesting books on conspiracy theories and power for you to browse.

1:Suspicious Minds - Rob Brotherton

“Rob Brotherton’s Suspicious Minds illuminates how Trump’s affinity for the conspiratorial mind-set forms the bedrock of his very existence as a political figure.”

2: Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them - Joseph E. Uscinski

“The essays examine conspiracy theories as historical phenomena, psychological quirks, expressions of power relations and as political instruments. Understandably, many of the essays fall back on simple description—the authors’ incredulity can be read between the lines.”

3: A Lot of People Are Saying - Nancy L Rosenblum

“Some might disagree with the authors’ disparagement of populism and idealism toward two-party politics, but they are convincing in their argument that there is something different afoot in the world of conspiracy and that danger lies ahead if we don’t confront it with truth and action.”

4: Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power - Anna Merlan

“Merlan explains that today’s conspiracy thinking arises from (1) increasingly rigid class structure, leaving “many people locked into their circumstances … desperate to find someone to blame,” and (2) rising disenfranchisement, people feeling “shut out of systems of power.” Conspiracy theories flourish in times of rapid social change, she says, ‘when we’re reevaluating ourselves, and perhaps, facing uncomfortable questions in the process’.”

5: Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories in the Age of Trump - Daniel C. Hellinger

”Hellinger presents a compelling argument that conspiracies are a way of doing politics, of reclaiming agency and of delegitimizing critics…[and to understand] conspiracy as a symptom of political decay.”

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 28 May 2020 at 14:25 UTC