Reply To: What is Conspiracy Theory?

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Great lecture from Bratich so far; thanks Eric. At 16:34 he asks a very good question. First he points out that journalistic articles concentrate on asking why some believe “conspiracy theories”, but he reframes this, asking, shouldn’t the question be why some people produce “conspiracy theories”? He suggests that this approach “drives a wedge” between makers and believers.

Before I listen further, I’ll set out some of my thoughts. I think there are two aspects to this; production and reinforcement, and reinforcement is practised by the believers. At this site over the years I have watched a social process of reinforcement of, let’s call them “crazy conspiracy theories”; things like Twin Tower demolition hypothesis, chemtrails, global warming denial, covid-19 denial. I have, to my shame, even been drawn into and helped to reinforce the first of those, and I continue to have a gullible side. But I can’t remember any occasion when a commenter has innovated an element of such a belief set. The assertions are presented verbatim as found in media, mainstream or otherwise, but promoted and defended aggressively. The reinforcement and promotion process is commonplace and public; on this site, on Facebook, in Youtube comments, a large and vocal minority engage in this.

Production seems to be a more private process that requires setting up a website or making and posting videos.