Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them

ISBN : 9780190844073

Joseph E. Uscinski
560 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Dec 2018
Send mail

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.


Chapter 1 Down the Rabbit Hole We Go!
Joseph E. Uscinski
Chapter 2 The History of Conspiracy Theory Research: A Review and Commentary
Michael Butter and Peter Knight
Chapter 3 What We Mean When We Say Conspiracy Theory
Jesse Walker
Chapter 4 Conspiracy Theory: The Nineteenth-Century Prehistory of a Twentieth-Century Concept
Andrew McKenzie-McHarg
Chapter 5 Media Marginalization of Racial Minorities: Conspiracy Theorists in U.S. Ghettos and on the Arab Street
Martin Orr and Ginna Husting
Chapter 6 Conspiracy Theories and Philosophy: Bringing the Epistemology of a Freighted Term into the Social Sciences
M. R. X. Dentith
Chapter 7 On the Democratic Problem of Conspiracy Theory Politics
Alfred Moore
Chapter 8 The Politics of Disruption: Social Choice Theory and Conspiracy Theory Politics
Matthew D. Atkinson and Darin DeWitt
Chapter 9 Learning About Conspiracy Theories: Experiences in Science and Risk Communication with the Public about the Fukushima Dai-ichi Disaster
Jay T. Cullen
Chapter 10 In Whose Hands the Future?
Stephan Lewandowsky
Chapter 11 Conspiracy Theory Phobia
Juha Raikka and Lee Basham
Chapter 12 Conspiracy Thinking, Tolerance, and Democracy
Steven Smallpage
Chapter 13 Don't Trust the Scientists! Rejecting the Scientific Consensus Conspiracy
Josh Pasek
Chapter 14 Conspiratorial Thinking and Polarized Fact Perceptions
Morgan Marietta and David C. Barker
Chapter 15 The Conspiracy Theory Pyramid Scheme
Ted Goertzel
Chapter 16 Conspiracy Theory Psychology: Individual differences, Worldviews, and States of Mind
Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas
Chapter 17 Conspiracy Rumor Psychology
Nicholas Difonzo
Chapter 18 The Truth is Around Here Somewhere: Integrating the Research on Conspiracy Beliefs
Preston R. Bost
Chapter 19 Conspiracy Theories in U.S. History
Kathryn S. Olmstead
Chapter 20 Polls, Plots, and Party Politics:
Conspiracy Theories in Contemporary America
Adam M. Enders and Steven M. Smallpage
Chapter 21 How Conspiracy Theories Spread
Darin DeWitt, Matthew Atkinson, and Drew Wegner
Chapter 22 Who Believes in Conspiracy Theories in Great Britain and Europe?
Hugo Drochon
Chapter 23 Why the Powerful (in Weak States) Prefer Conspiracy Theories
Scott Radnitz
Chapter 24 Conspiracy Theories in post-Soviet Russia
Ilya Yablokov
Chapter 25 The Collective Conspiracy Mentality in Poland
Wiktor Soral, Aleksandra Cichocka, Micha? Bilewicz, Marta Marchlewska
Chapter 26 The Conspiratorial Style in Turkish Politics: Discussing the Deep State in the Parliament
Turkay Salim Nefes
Chapter 27 The Hidden and the Revealed: Styles of political conspiracy theory in Kirchnerism
Tanya Filer
Chapter 28 Conspiracy Theories and Religion: Superstition, Seekership, and Salvation
David G. Robertson and Asbjorn Dyrendal
Chapter 29 The Credulity of Conspiracy Theorists: Conspiratorial, Scientific & Religious Explanation Compared
Brian L. Keeley
Chapter 30 Empowerment as a Tool to Reduce Belief in Conspiracy Theories
Jan-Willem van Prooijen
Chapter 31 Conspiracy Theories for Journalists: Covering Dubious Ideas in Real Time
Joseph E. Uscinski
About the Authors

About the author: 

Joseph E. Uscinski is an associate professor of Political Science in the University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences, where he teaches courses on American politics. He is coauthor of American Conspiracy Theories (Oxford, 2014) and author of The People's News: Media, Politics, and the Demands of Capitalism (New York University Press, 2014). He received his Ph.D. in American Politics from University of Arizona, his M.A. from University of New Hampshire, and his B.A. from Plymouth State College.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.