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Conspiracy theories : secrecy and power in American culture

Author: Mark Fenster
Publisher: Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, ©2008.
Edition/Format:   Book : State or province government publication : English : Rev. and updated edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Legal scholar Mark Fenster argues that conspiracy theories are a form of popular political interpretation and contends that understanding how they circulate through mass culture helps us better understand American society as a whole. To that end, he discusses Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics, the militia movement, The X-Files, popular Christian apocalyptic thought, and such artifacts of  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Mark Fenster
ISBN: 9780816654949 0816654948 9780816654932 081665493X
OCLC Number: 212908873
Description: x, 371 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: Introduction : We're all conspiracy theorists now --
Conspiracy as politics --
Theorizing conspiracy politics : the problem of the "paranoid style" --
When the senator met the commander : from pathology to populism --
Conspiracy as cultural practice --
Finding the plot : conspiracy theory as interpretation --
Uncovering the plot : conspiracy theory as narrative --
Plotting the rush : conspiracy, community, and play --
Conspiracy communities --
The prophetic plot : millennialism and Christian conspiracy theory --
A failure of imagination : completing narratives of 9/11 truth --
Afterword : Conspiracy theory, cultural studies, and the trouble with populism.
Responsibility: Mark Fenster.
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Abstract:

Legal scholar Mark Fenster argues that conspiracy theories are a form of popular political interpretation and contends that understanding how they circulate through mass culture helps us better understand American society as a whole. To that end, he discusses Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics, the militia movement, The X-Files, popular Christian apocalyptic thought, and such artifacts of suspicion as The Turner Diaries, the Illuminatus! trilogy, and the novels of Richard Condon. Fenster analyzes the "conspiracy community" of radio shows, magazine and book publishers, Internet resources, and role-playing games that promote these theories. He believes conspiracy theory has become a thrill for a bored subculture, one characterized by its members' reinterpretation of "accepted" history, their deep cynicism about contemporary politics, and their longing for a utopian future. Probing conspiracy theory's tendencies toward scapegoating, racism, and fascism, he advocates what conspiracy theory wants but cannot articulate: a more inclusive, engaging political culture.--From publisher description.

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