Conspiracy Theorists Robert Wonser SOC 86 – Pop Culture Fall 2011* * Or so THEY’D like you to believe…
Defining Conspiracy • The essence of conspiracy belief lies in attempts to delineate and explain evil • The result is a worldview characterized by a sharp vision between the realms of good and evil • Conspiracy belief is the belief that an organization made up of individuals or groups was or is acting covertly to achieve some malevolent end. • A conspiracist worldview implies a universe governed by design rather than by randomness.
Conspiracy Theories • Have three principles in common: • Nothing happens by accident • Nothing is as it seems • Everything is connected • This view is both frightening and reassuring: • Frightening because it magnifies the power of evil (light and darkness struggle for cosmic supremacy) • Reassuring because it promises a world that is meaningful rather than arbitrary. • It also provides a definable enemy against which to struggle, endowing life with a purpose.
Belief in Conspiracies • Allows believers to make some sense of a complex and ever-changing world • The same trends that disaffected the punks, heavy metalers and youth in general play out in seemingly secretive ways. • It is difficult to see and understand complex forces; political, sociological, and economic. An answer has to be found somewhere
What Unites These disparate cultures? • Fear and uncertainty • They are all reactions to the decline of the middle class • Punk sees it ostensibly as a fucked up culture from its onset, metal and conspiracy theorists believes it has lost its former glory and, unable to understand the complex sociological factors that resulted in where we are to day, turn to what seems to make sense to explain why the world has changed and they’ve lost their social status.