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Conspiracy theories, politics and distrusting authority

March 23, 2011

“Conspiracy theories can be seen as a form of political thinking, as a ‘paranoid style,’ as Hofstadter has called it.  They are a way to make order out of disorder, to connect the dots, to interpret the world and situate oneself in it. According to Timothy Melley, ‘Paranoia is an interpretive disorder that revolves around questions of control and manipulation.’ …This is why conspiracy theory has often been seen as a certain type of ideology, an attempt to attribute agency in an overly complex modern or postmodern society to one superior, evil, and hidden agent.”[1]

“The so-called paranoid style essentially consists not so much in giving answers as in asking questions. …Conspiracy theories are inspired by an attitude of distrust toward authorities, of skepticism toward official truths, and of an attention paid to conspicuous details.”[2]

[1] P6-7 Horn, E. and A. Rabinbach (2008). “Introduction.” New German Critique 35(1): 1-8.

[2] P7 Horn, E. and A. Rabinbach (2008). “Introduction.” New German Critique 35(1): 1-8.

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