Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture by Jack Z. Bratich

By Jack Z. Bratich

Examines modern nervousness over the phenomenon of conspiracy theories.

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Extra resources for Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture

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What is the specific relevance of a proposed line of action to the temporary and permanent modification of that tension level? (p. 198) The fostering of preventive politics falls to society’s problematizers, those experts who can produce authoritative visions and diagnoses of society. Changing the nature of the problems they construct is paramount, for “achieving the ideal of preventative politics depends . . upon improving the methods and education of social administrators and social scientists” (p.

His casual adoption of political psychology may seem to empty the paranoid style of its clinical connotations but it still carries the authority of psychology. His diagnosis isn’t clinical, but it is social; carrying the legitimacy of the psychopathological category out onto the social field. For Hofstadter, it is not the content of beliefs that matters, but the style of thought. Style “has to do with the way in which ideas are believed and advocated rather than with the truth or falsity of their content” (p.

Pipes begins to perform a sorting operation upon the problem: “Reader and author alike need markers to distinguish the solid ground of fact from the swamp of fantasy, for it is this insidiousness that permits conspiracism to spread from the extremes to the mainstream” (p. 38). Pipes embodies the normal or noid style of thought, one that seeks division between the rational and its simulated excess but does not concern itself with distinguishing true from false (that is to say, with falsifying conspiracy theories).

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