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Author Archives: Hugo Drochon

How do conspiracy theories relate to non-democratic regimes?

In their now infamous paper on conspiracy theories, Sunstein and Vermeule write that ‘in a poll conducted in seven Muslim countries, 78 percent of respondents said that they do not believe the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Arabs, the most popular account, in these countries, is that 9/11 was the work on the US […]

17 December 2015
Conspiracy theories, surprises and democracy

What most – pleasantly – surprised me was how it was in fact possible to link conspiracy theories directly to politics. Most of the literature on conspiracy theories I encountered at first analysed it from the perspective of psychology, American studies etc, but the survey work I have been doing with Rolf and YouGov opened […]

24 November 2015
Listen: Tanya, Hugo, and Rolf on ‘Election’ podcast
Listen: Tanya, Hugo, and Rolf on ‘Election’ podcast

Tanya, Hugo, and Rolf discuss conspiracy theories with David Runciman on his ‘Election’ podcast. We present the results of our survey and touch on recent events in Argentina and Russia. Listen (from 10:00) here.

14 April 2015
Of Cynics and Conspiracy Theorists

What separates cynics from conspiracy theorists? When people use the language of conspiracy it’s not always clear exactly what sort of conspiracy they have in mind. In this post we analyse the data from our opinion poll to explore how respondents talk about hidden power.

23 February 2015
Are conspiracy theories for complete losers?
Are conspiracy theories for complete losers?

Conspiracy theories are not the preserve of the US: Brits are as likely – indeed perhaps marginally more – to believe at least one conspiracy theory than the Americans. This is one of the findings from …

18 February 2015
Politics and the Paranoid Style
Politics and the Paranoid Style

We’ve had quite a lively debate about Hofstadter in the last meeting, as is witnessed by the wonderful blogs by Alfred and Andrew, who very much help in placing him in his context. What I wanted to do was to extract from the piece the abstract conceptual tools Hofstadter affords us in his analysis of the paranoid style, […]

11 June 2013
All the President’s (Wo-)Men?

Try this fun little Spiegel conspiracy theory quiz (in German). Martha Mitchell was the wife of the Attorney General John Mitchell, who was Richard Nixon’s campaign manager. During the Watergate scandal she repeatedly insisted it was Nixon himself who was responsible, but was dismissed as a quack. You know the rest of the story. Was Mitchell dismissed because […]

2 June 2013
Religion and conspiracy theories

I suggested in my last entry that there was a link between religion and conspiracy theories, and this is something I want to explore a little further here. My original thought had concerned the psychological make-up of people who believe conspiracy theories, namely that those who see the world in broad black-and-white categories – ‘good […]


Andrew drew our attention to this article on beliefs in contradictory conspiracy theories. It shows that people who believe in conspiracy theories are more likely to believe contradictory conspiracy theories – i.e. that Diana could have both been murdered by the secret services and be still alive – than in the ‘official’ line. So a rejection of […]

22 May 2013
‘Tell a lie and find a troth’ – 6 Feb 2013 Reading Group

We discussed two texts today, Himmler’s Poznan speech and Francis Bacon’s ‘Of Simulation and Concealment’. Himmler’s speech was interesting from a number of perspectives, including the fact that by openly discussing the Nazi aim to eradicate the Jews, Himmler in effect implicated all the SS members present in the conspiracy whether they had participated in it or […]

6 February 2013