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Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them

Joseph E. Uscinski


Conspiracy theories are not fringe ideas, tucked away in society’s dark corners. Conspiracy theories are everywhere, and like other ideas they have consequences. When people believe conspiracy theories they may act on them. In democracies, conspiracy theories can drive majorities to make horrible decisions. Conspiracy beliefs can conversely encourage political abstention: if one believes the system is rigged, they will be less willing to take part. Conspiracy theories form the basis of some people’s medical decisions. For a select few, conspiracy theories are instructions to fight fire with fi ... More

Keywords: conspiracy theories, conspiracy theory, conspiracy, violence, public opinion, polling, Trump, Brexit

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190844073
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190844073.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joseph E. Uscinski, editor
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Miami

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1 Down the Rabbit Hole We Go!

Joseph E. Uscinski

2 The History of Conspiracy Theory Research

Michael Butter and Peter Knight

4 Conspiracy Theory

Andrew McKenzie-McHarg

5 Media Marginalization of Racial Minorities

Martin Orr and Ginna Husting

8 The Politics of Disruption

Matthew D. Atkinson and Darin DeWitt

10 In Whose Hands the Future?

Stephan Lewandowsky

11 Conspiracy Theory Phobia

Juha Räikkä and Lee Basham

14 Conspiratorial Thinking and Dueling Fact Perceptions

Morgan Marietta and David C. Barker

16 Conspiracy Theory Psychology

Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas

20 Polls, Plots, and Party Politics

Adam M. Enders and Steven M. Smallpage

21 How Conspiracy Theories Spread

Darin DeWitt, Matthew D. Atkinson, and Drew Wegner

25 The Collective Conspiracy Mentality in Poland

Wiktor Soral, Aleksandra Cichocka, Michał Bilewicz, and Marta Marchlewska

28 Conspiracy Theories and Religion

David G. Robertson and Asbjørn Dyrendal

End Matter