conspiracy theories secrecy and power in american culture

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Conspiracy Theories

Author : Mark Fenster
ISBN : 9780816632428
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 24. 5 MB
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JFK, Karl Marx, the Pope, Aristotle Onassis, Queen Elizabeth II, Howard Hughes, Fox Mulder, Bill Clinton -- all have been linked to vastly complicated global (or even galactic) intrigues. In this enlightening tour of conspiracy theories, Mark Fenster guides readers through this shadowy world and analyzes its complex role in American culture and politics. Fenster argues that conspiracy theories are a form of popular political interpretation and contends that understanding how they circulate through mass culture helps us better understand our society as a whole. To that end, he discusses Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics, the militia movement, The X-Files, popular Christian apocalyptic thought, and such artifacts of suspicion as The Turner Diaries, the Illuminatus! trilogy, and the novels of Richard Condon. Fenster analyzes the "conspiracy community" of radio shows, magazine and book publishers, Internet resources, and role-playing games that promote these theories. In this world, the very denial of a conspiracy's existence becomes proof that it exists, and the truth is always "out there." He believes conspiracy theory has become a thrill for a bored subculture, one characterized by its members' reinterpretation of "accepted" history, their deep cynicism about contemporary politics, and their longing for a utopian future. Fenster's progressive critique of conspiracy theories both recognizes the secrecy and inequities of power in contemporary politics and economics and works toward effective political engagement. Probing conspiracy theory's tendencies toward scapegoating, racism, and fascism, as well as Hofstadter's centrist acceptance of a postwar American"consensus, " he advocates what conspiracy theory wants but cannot articulate: a more inclusive, engaging political culture.

Conspiracy Theories In American History

Author : Peter Knight
ISBN : 9781576078129
Genre : History
File Size : 28. 12 MB
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A reference guide to conspiracy theory presents over 300 entries describing events and theories, analyzing the historical, intellectual, and political context of each, and offering evidence to support or refute each one.

Conspiracy Theories And The People Who Believe Them

Author : Joseph E. Uscinski
ISBN : 9780190844097
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 79. 71 MB
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Conspiracy theories are inevitable in complex human societies. And while they have always been with us, their ubiquity in our political discourse is nearly unprecedented. Their salience has increased for a variety of reasons including the increasing access to information among ordinary people, a pervasive sense of powerlessness among those same people, and a widespread distrust of elites. Working in combination, these factors and many other factors are now propelling conspiracy theories into our public sphere on a vast scale. In recent years, scholars have begun to study this genuinely important phenomenon in a concerted way. In Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them, Joseph E. Uscinski has gathered forty top researchers on the topic to provide both the foundational tools and the evidence to better understand conspiracy theories in the United States and around the world. Each chapter is informed by three core questions: Why do so many people believe in conspiracy theories? What are the effects of such theories when they take hold in the public? What can or should be done about the phenomenon? Combining systematic analysis and cutting-edge empirical research, this volume will help us better understand an extremely important, yet relatively neglected, phenomenon.

American Conspiracy Theories

Author : Joseph E. Uscinski
ISBN : 9780199351800
Genre : History
File Size : 74. 52 MB
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Conspiracies theories are some of the most striking features in the American political landscape: the Kennedy assassination, aliens at Roswell, subversion by Masons, Jews, Catholics, or communists, and modern movements like Birtherism and Trutherism. But what do we really know about conspiracy theories? Do they share general causes? Are they becoming more common? More dangerous? Who is targeted and why? Who are the conspiracy theorists? How has technology affected conspiracy theorising? This book offers the first century-long view of these issues.

Conspiracy Theories In The United States And The Middle East

Author : Michael Butter
ISBN : 9783110338270
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 34. 46 MB
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Conspiracy Theories in the United States and the Middle East is the first book to approach conspiracy theorizing from a decidedly comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. Whereas previous studies have engaged with conspiracy theories within national frameworks only, this collection of essays draws attention to the fact that conspiracist visions are transnational narratives that travel between and connect different cultures. It focuses on the United States and the Middle East because these two regions of the world are entangled in manifold ways and conspiracy theories are currently extremely prominent in both. The contributors to the volume are scholars of Middle Eastern Studies, Anthropology, History, Political Science, Cultural Studies, and American Studies, who approach the subject from a variety of different theories and methodologies. However, all of them share the fundamental assumption that conspiracy theories must not be dismissed out of hand or ridiculed. Usually wrong and frequently dangerous, they are nevertheless articulations of and distorted responses to needs and anxieties that must be taken seriously. Focusing on individual case studies and displaying a high sensitivity for local conditions and the cultural environment, the essays offer a nuanced image of the workings of conspiracy theories in the United States and the Middle East.

Conspiracy Theories

Author : J. Byford
ISBN : 9780230349216
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 22. 16 MB
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Through a series of specific questions that cut to the core of conspiracism as a global social and cultural phenomenon this book deconstructs the logic and rhetoric of conspiracy theories and analyses the broader social and psychological factors that contribute to their persistence in modern society.

They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves

Author : Bridget Brown
ISBN : 0814799213
Genre : History
File Size : 34. 51 MB
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Since its emergence in the 1960s, belief in alien abduction has saturated popular culture, with the ubiquitous image of the almond-eyed alien appearing on everything from bumper stickers to bars of soap. Drawing on interviews with alleged abductees from the New York area, Bridget Brown suggests a new way for people to think about the alien phenomenon, one that is concerned not with establishing whether aliens actually exist, but with understanding what belief in aliens in America may tell us about our changing understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves looks at how the belief in abduction by extraterrestrials is constituted by and through popular discourse and the images provided by print, film, and television. Brown contends that the abduction phenomenon is symptomatic of a period during which people have come to feel increasingly divested of the ability to know what is real or true about themselves and the world in which they live. The alien abduction phenomenon helps us think about how people who feel left out create their own stories and fashion truths that square with their own experience of the world.

The Metanarrative Of Suspicion In Late Twentieth Century America

Author : Sandra Baringer
ISBN : 9781135876913
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 31. 36 MB
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Narratives of suspicion and mistrust have escaped the boundaries of specific sites of discourse to constitue a metanarrative that pervades American culture. Through close reading of texts ranging from novels (Pynchon's Vineland, Silko's Almanac of the Dead, Pierce's The Turner Diaries) to prison literature, this book examines the ways in which narratives of suspicion are both constitutive--and symptomatic--of a metanarrative that pervades American culture.

The Many Lives Of Marilyn Monroe

Author : Sarah Churchwell
ISBN : 9781466825949
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 36. 43 MB
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A brilliant investigation into the debates surrounding Marilyn Monroe's life and the cultural attitudes that her legend reveals There are many Marilyns: sex goddess and innocent child, crafty manipulator and dumb blonde, liberated woman and tragic loner. Indeed, the writing and rewriting of this endlessly intriguing icon's life has produced more than six hundred books, from the long procession of "authoritative" biographies to the memoirs and plays by ex-husband Arthur Miller and the works by Norman Mailer and Joyce Carol Oates. But even as the books have multiplied, myth, reality, fact, fiction, and gossip have become only more intertwined; there is still no agreement about such fundamental questions as Marilyn's given name, the identity of her father, whether she was molested as a child, and how and why she died. The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe reviews the unreliable and unverifiable-but highly significant-stories that have framed the greatest Hollywood legend. All the while, cultural critic Sarah Churchwell reveals us to ourselves: our conflicted views on women, our tormented sexual attitudes, our ambivalence about success, our fascination with self-destruction. In incisive and passionate prose, Churchwell uncovers the shame, belittlement, and anxiety that we bring to the story of a woman we supposedly adore. In the process, she rescues a Marilyn Monroe who is far more complicated and credible than the one we think we know.

Christian Reconstruction

Author : Michael J. McVicar
ISBN : 9781469622750
Genre : Religion
File Size : 31. 24 MB
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This is the first critical history of Christian Reconstruction and its founder and champion, theologian and activist Rousas John Rushdoony (1916–2001). Drawing on exclusive access to Rushdoony's personal papers and extensive correspondence, Michael J. McVicar demonstrates the considerable role Reconstructionism played in the development of the radical Christian Right and an American theocratic agenda. As a religious movement, Reconstructionism aims at nothing less than "reconstructing" individuals through a form of Christian governance that, if implemented in the lives of U.S. citizens, would fundamentally alter the shape of American society. McVicar examines Rushdoony's career and traces Reconstructionism as it grew from a grassroots, populist movement in the 1960s to its height of popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. He reveals the movement's galvanizing role in the development of political conspiracy theories and survivalism, libertarianism and antistatism, and educational reform and homeschooling. The book demonstrates how these issues have retained and in many cases gained potency for conservative Christians to the present day, despite the decline of the movement itself beginning in the 1990s. McVicar contends that Christian Reconstruction has contributed significantly to how certain forms of religiosity have become central, and now familiar, aspects of an often controversial conservative revolution in America.

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