Conceptual history and conspiracy theory

Book chapter


McKenzie-McHarg, Andrew. (2020). Conceptual history and conspiracy theory. In In M. Butter and P. Knight (Ed.). Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories pp. 16 - 27 Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429452734-1_1
AuthorsMcKenzie-McHarg, Andrew
EditorsM. Butter and P. Knight
Abstract

Distilled down into its starkest implications, it would seemingly confront us with two options: either admit the historical variability of conspiracy theory as a phenomenon and relinquish thereby the desire to define it, or insist upon its definability and deny that the phenomenon exhibits any variability in the course of history. Jack Bratich thus adopts a meta-position that accounts for both those features that have unsettled many researchers invested in a study of conspiracy theories that aspires to be both precise and value-neutral. Bratich’s line of argument, implies that conspiracy theories, if they exist at all, only do so from the moment at which the term has emerged to designate them as such. Framing the inquiry in this manner leads to the following conclusion: in a period extending roughly from 1870 to 1970, conspiracy theory enters the conceptual vocabulary of society. A number of features of the term ‘conspiracy theory’ as it appears in the discourse deserve particular attention.

Page range16 - 27
Year2020
Book titleRoutledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
SeriesConspiracy Theories
ISBN9780815361749
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429452734-1_1
Research GroupInstitute for Religion and Critical Inquiry
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