Conspiracy Nation

The Politics of Paranoia in Postwar America

Author: Peter Knight

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 0814747361

Category: History

Page: 278

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Why are Americans today so fascinated by the X-Files? How did rumors emerge about the origins of the AIDS virus as a weapon of biowarfare? Why does the Kennedy assassination provoke heated debate nearly forty years after the fact, and what do we make of Hillary Clinton's accusation of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" against her husband? The origins of these ideas reveal important facets of American culture and politics. Placing conspiracy thinking at the center of American history, and challenging the knee-jerk dismissal of conspiratorial thought as deluded and sometimes dangerous, Conspiracy Nation provides a wide-ranging survey of conspiracy theories in contemporary America. In the 19th century, inflammatory rhetoric about slave revolts, the well-publicized specter of the black rapist, and the formation of the Ku Klux Klan all worked as conspiracy theories to legitimate an emerging sense of national consciousness based on an ideology of white supremacy. Today, panicked responses to increasing multiculturalism and globalization yield new notions of victimhood and new theories about conspiratorial plans for global domination. Offering up a provocative array of examples, ranging from alien abduction to the novels of DeLillo and Pynchon to Tupac Shakur's "paranoid style," Conspiracy Nation documents and unearths the workings of conspiracy in the contemporary moment. Their conclusions, sometimes startling and always compelling, have much to say about the nature of identity and anxiety, imagination and politics, and the state of the American psyche today. Contributors: Clare Birchall, Jack Bratich, Bridget Brown, Jodi Dean, Ingrid Walker Fields, Douglas Kellner, Peter Knight, Fran Mason, John A. McClure, Timothy Melley, Eithne Quinn, and Skip Willman.
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Conspiracy Theories in the Arab World

Sources and Politics

Author: Matthew Gray

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136967508

Category: History

Page: 224

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Conspiracy theories, while not unique to the Middle East, are a salient feature of the political discourses of the region. Strongly reflecting and impacting on state-society relations and indigenous impressions of the world beyond the region, they affect how political behaviour within and among the states of the region is situated, structured, and controlled. Discounting the common pathological explanation for conspiracism, the author argues that a complex mix of political factors account for most conspiracy theories in the contemporary Arab world. The author argues that the region’s modern history, genuine conspiracies, the complex and oftentimes strained relationship between state and society, the role of the state and the mass media as conspiracy theorists, and the impacts of new technologies have all helped to develop and sustain conspiracist narratives. Drawing on a range of examples and cases, including the impacts of globalization, economic reform, weak state legitimacy, the war in Iraq, the Arab-Israeli issue, the rise of political Islamism, and internet and satellite television, the book illuminates the complex sources of conspiracy theories. Providing a comprehensive overview of this controversial topic, this book will appeal not only to students and scholars interested in Middle East studies, political science, globalization and conspiracy theories, but to anyone seeking an understanding of the region’s complex economic, social, and cultural dynamics.
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Paranoid Pedagogies

Education, Culture, and Paranoia

Author: Jennifer A. Sandlin,Jason J. Wallin

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319647652

Category: Education

Page: 212

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This edited book explores the under-analyzed significance and function of paranoia as a psychological habitus of the contemporary educational and social moment. The editors and contributors argue that the desire for epistemological truth beyond uncertainty characteristic of paranoia continues to profoundly shape the aesthetic texture and imaginaries of educational thought and practice. Attending to the psychoanalytic, post-psychoanalytic, and critical significance of paranoia as a mode of engaging with the world, this book further inquires into the ways in which paranoia functions to shape the social order and the material desire of subjects operating within it. Furthermore, the book aims to understand how the paranoiac imaginary endemic to contemporary educational thought manifests itself throughout the social field and what issues it makes manifest for teachers, teacher educators, and academics working toward social transformation.
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The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories

Author: M. Dentith

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137363169

Category: Philosophy

Page: 190

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Conspiracy theories are a popular topic of conversation in everyday life but are often frowned upon in academic discussions. Looking at the recent spate of philosophical interest in conspiracy theories, The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories looks at whether the assumption that belief in conspiracy theories is typically irrational is well founded
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Rumor Mills

The Social Impact of Rumor and Legend

Author: Veronique Campion-Vincent

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1351492527

Category: Social Science

Page: 281

View: 2779

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The goal of this volume is to explore the social and political dynamics of rumor and the related concept of urban or contemporary legend. These forms of communication often appear in tandem with social problems, including riots, racial or political violence, and social and economic upheavals. The volume emphasizes the connection of rumor to a set of social concerns from government corruption and corporate scandal, to racial, religious, and other prejudices. Central to the dialogue are issues of truth, belief, history, public policy, and evidence.Rumor has been recognized as one of the most important contributing factors to violence and discrimination. Yet, despite its significance in exacerbating social discord and mistrust, little systematic scholarly attention has been paid to the political origins and consequences of rumor. Rumor is defined as a proposition for belief that is not backed by secure standards of evidence. Rumor can be traditional or not, and can be expressed as a simple claim of fact. In both instances groups of claim-makers, operating out of their own interests and with a set of resources, attempt to depict reality, and if possible, impact the future.The need for this book is underscored by changing patterns of technology. What in the past was grounded in face- to-face interaction is now often found on the Internet, which is a major source of rumor. An appreciation of how new electronic forms of communication affect communal belief is essential for explicating rumor dynamics. The volume is comprehensive. Essays cover race and ethnicity, migration and globalization, corporate malfeasance, and state and government corruption. While editors and contributors well appreciate the dynamic nature of rumors and legends, the high quality of the effort make it evident that the issues that are raised and reoccur will serve to channel and inspire research in this major field of communications research for years to come.
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The AIDS Conspiracy

Science Fights Back

Author: Nicoli Nattrass

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231520255

Category: Political Science

Page: 224

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Since the early days of the AIDS epidemic, many bizarre and dangerous hypotheses have been advanced to explain the origins of the disease. In this compelling book, Nicoli Nattrass explores the social and political factors prolonging the erroneous belief that the American government manufactured the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to be used as a biological weapon, as well as the myth's consequences for behavior, especially within African American and black South African communities. Contemporary AIDS denialism, the belief that HIV is harmless and that antiretroviral drugs are the true cause of AIDS, is a more insidious AIDS conspiracy theory. Advocates of this position make a "conspiratorial move" against HIV science by implying its methods cannot be trusted and that untested, alternative therapies are safer than antiretrovirals. These claims are genuinely life-threatening, as tragically demonstrated in South Africa when the delay of antiretroviral treatment resulted in nearly 333,000 AIDS deaths and 180,000 HIV infections—a tragedy of stunning proportions. Nattrass identifies four symbolically powerful figures ensuring the lifespan of AIDS denialism: the hero scientist (dissident scientists who lend credibility to the movement); the cultropreneur (alternative therapists who exploit the conspiratorial move as a marketing mechanism); the living icon (individuals who claim to be living proof of AIDS denialism's legitimacy); and the praise-singer (journalists who broadcast movement messages to the public). Nattrass also describes how pro-science activists have fought back by deploying empirical evidence and political credibility to resist AIDS conspiracy theories, which is part of the crucial project to defend evidence-based medicine.
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Conspiracy Theories

A Critical Introduction

Author: J. Byford

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 0230349218

Category: Psychology

Page: 179

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Through a series of specific questions that cut to the core of conspiracism as a global social and cultural phenomenon this book deconstructs the logic and rhetoric of conspiracy theories and analyses the broader social and psychological factors that contribute to their persistence in modern society.
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They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves

The History and Politics of Alien Abduction

Author: Bridget Brown

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 0814786359

Category: History

Page: 247

View: 5766

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Since its emergence in the 1960s, belief in alien abduction has saturated popular culture, with the ubiquitous image of the almond-eyed alien appearing on everything from bumper stickers to bars of soap. Drawing on interviews with alleged abductees from the New York area, Bridget Brown suggests a new way for people to think about the alien phenomenon, one that is concerned not with establishing whether aliens actually exist, but with understanding what belief in aliens in America may tell us about our changing understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves looks at how the belief in abduction by extraterrestrials is constituted by and through popular discourse and the images provided by print, film, and television. Brown contends that the abduction phenomenon is symptomatic of a period during which people have come to feel increasingly divested of the ability to know what is real or true about themselves and the world in which they live. The alien abduction phenomenon helps us think about how people who feel left out create their own stories and fashion truths that square with their own experience of the world.
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The Kennedy Assassination

Author: Peter Knight

Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi

ISBN: 9781934110324

Category: History

Page: 177

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\"Peter Knight has done the impossible-he has written a very interesting and readable book on the Kennedy Assassination. [The book] will prove indispensable not only to students and researchers of American politics and culture over the last half century, but also to the general reader.\" -Richard H. King, author of Race, Culture, and the Intellectuals, 1940-1970 As a seminal event in late twentieth-century American history, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has permeated the American consciousness in a wide variety of ways. His death has long fascinated American writers, filmmakers, and artists. The Kennedy Assassination offers an authoritative, critical exploration of the many ways the event has been constructed in a range of discourses. The book looks at a variety of historical, political, and cultu-ral attempts to understand Ken-nedy\'s death. Representations include journalism from the time; historical accounts and memoirs; official investigations, government reports, and socio-logical inquiries; numerous con-spiracy theories; novels, plays, and other works of literature; the Zapruder footage; and photography, avant-garde art, and Hollywood films. \"Peter Knight\'s book on the Kennedy assassination is the best available source we have on the most symptomatic event of post-war American history,\" Patrick O\'Donnell, author of Latent Destinies: Cultural Para-noia and Contemporary U.S. Narrative, says. \"Encyclopedic in scope, elegant and clear in its execution, wide-ranging in its assessment of the history and representational aftermath of that dark day in Dallas, this will be the \'go-to\' book on the Kennedy assassination for some time to come.\" Peter Knight is senior lecturer in American studies at the Uni-versity of Manchester. He is author of Conspiracy Culture: From Kennedy to \"The X-Files\" and editor of Conspiracy Nation: The Politics of Paranoia in Postwar America, Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia, and Fakes and Forgeries.
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North American Critical Theory After Postmodernism

Contemporary Dialogues

Author: P. Nickel

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137262869

Category: Political Science

Page: 249

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In a series of interviews this book explores the formative experiences of a generation of critical theorists whose work originated in the midst of what has been called 'the postmodern turn,' including discussions of their views on the evolution of critical theory over the past 30 years and their assessment of contemporary politics.
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