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Category Archives: American Conspiracies

Why conspiracy theories in America are not on the rise after all
Why conspiracy theories in America are not on the rise after all

We recently had a visit from Joe Parent and Joe Uscinski, associate professors in political science at the University of Miami, who gave a public talk based on their forthcoming book: Conspiracy Theories in America (Oxford University Press).   It was a great talk. They’ve put together a highly original data set, and they use […]

6 June 2014
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
When is a coup not a coup?

This transcript of Rush Limbaugh talking about the NSA/Prism business is an interesting example of how the paranoid style has evolved.  Three things strike me about his argument here.  First, just how self-conscious – or even self-aware – it is.  Limbaugh spends a lot of time explaining that he knows how this sort of talk will […]

10 June 2013
Paranoia and Style
Paranoia and Style

This week we revisited Richard Hofstadter’s seminal piece on the “paranoid style” in American politics. The article is in one sense very much a product of its time. He follows a broadly elitist framing of democratic politics in terms of an opposition between the intellectual and technocratic elites required for the administration of complex societies […]

7 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