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HISTORY, POLITICAL THEORY, INTERNET

Latest Blog Posts

Are you serious?: Measuring belief in conspiracy theories – Rob Brotherton

Psychologists love to measure things, and psychologists who study conspiracy theories are no exception. To understand where conspiracy theories come from, we need to be able to measure the extent to which people believe them. But measuring things is often trickier than it first appears. At first glance, it seems pretty straight-forward. Pick a few […]

25 May 2016
Conspiracies Real and Imagined in the French Revolution – Marisa Linton

The French Revolution saw the invention of a new political system for France, that of modern participatory politics, with an elected legislature, political clubs, and a free press. For the first time France had politicians – answerable not to one man, but to public opinion and to the ‘people’. On the face of it conspiracy […]

6 May 2016
Are conspiracy theories a threat to democracy?

Conspiracy theories are a marginal phenomenon, a form of disreputable counter-knowledge, and therefore unlikely to bring down strong democratic governments. Nonetheless, a case might be made that they contribute to a sometimes misplaced trust in elites. By all accounts, such trust is at historic lows. Complacency and political cynicism may be at corresponding highs. As Hugo noted, […]

13 January 2016
Can conspiracies be distinguished from other forms of collective action?

Can conspiracies be distinguished from other forms of collective action? Certainly. Conspiracies are (at least partially) a subcategory of collective action. The terms covered by the collective action umbrella range from proximate categories which may, perhaps, be indistinguishable, to those that are completely distinct. Unlike ‘conspiracy theory’, ‘conspiracy’ is easy to define: conspiracies are necessarily […]

12 January 2016