in "Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories"
Edited By Michael Butter, Peter Knight
Edition 1st Edition
First Published 2020
eBook Published 17 February 2020
Pub. location London
Pages 700 pages
eBook ISBN 9780429452734
"Conspiracy Theories in Political Science and Political Theory"
chapter 1.8|13 pages
With Julien Giry, Pranvera Tika
This chapter considers elements of political science historical development, and presents the main topics and issues addressed by scholars and the different kind of methods they use to study conspiracy theories. It aims to synthesise the most relevant findings, which will lead us to attempt to give a definition of conspiracy theories that finds a consensus in the field of political science. Although its origins are widely recognised to lie in the philosophical debates on politics since the time of ancient Greece, political science as a structured discipline engaged in empirical research only began to emerge at the end of nineteenth century. Political science is considered the academic discipline that studies formal and informal, conscious and unconscious, visible and invisible relations of power, authority and domination amongst individual and/or collective actors of all kinds. Political science is then divided into several sub-disciplines such as history of ideas, political sociology, public policies, public institutions, government studies, comparative politics or international relations.
"Functions and Uses of Conspiracy Theories in Authoritarian Regimes"
chapter 3.5|13 pages
With Julien Giry, Doğan Gürpınar
The ideological formation and modes of legitimisation of authoritarian regimes are a major factor in the employment and pervasiveness of conspiracy theories. Authoritarian ideologies are characterised by an unshakeable belief in their righteousness and a tendency to provide comprehensive explanations for complex events, which renders them prone to conspiracy theories. This chapter explores the uses and functions of conspiracy theories in authoritarian regimes, showing how conspiracy theories are used as propaganda, allowing regimes to identify and denounce perceived enemies and silence political opponents. In authoritarian contexts, conspiratorial rhetoric used by the regimes is expedient for mobilising masses, reinforcing incumbent structures of power and authority, and assuring the loyalty of the people. Conspiracy theories are used to reaffirm the dominant and established values of an ingroup while identifying and subsequently portraying outsiders in a negative light. Conspiracy theories express a reductionism that serves and contributes to uphold, promote and reinforce conventional behaviours, while discrediting or delegitimising inappropriate or marginal ones.