American Conspiracy Theories by Joseph E. UscinskiAmerican Conspiracy Theories by Joseph E. Uscinski

American Conspiracy Theories

byJoseph E. Uscinski, Joseph M. Parent

Paperback | September 18, 2014

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We are living in an age of conspiracy theories, whether it's enduring, widely held beliefs such as government involvement in the Kennedy assassination or alien activity at Roswell, fears of a powerful infiltrating group such as the Illuminati, Jews, Catholics, or communists, or modern fringemovements of varying popularity such as birtherism and trutherism. What is it in American culture that makes conspiracy theories proliferate? Who is targeted, and why? Are we in the heyday of the conspiracy theory, or is it in decline? Though there is significant scholarly literature on the topic in psychology, sociology, philosophy, and more, American Conspiracy Theories is the first to use broad, long-term empirical data to analyze this popular American tendency. Joseph E. Uscinski and Joseph M. Parent draw on three sources oforiginal data: 120,000 letters to the editor of the New York Times and Chicago Tribune from between 1890 and 2010; a two-wave survey from before and after the 2012 presidential election; and discussions of conspiracy theories culled from online news sources, blogs, and other Web sites, also frombefore and after the election. Through these sources, they are able to address crucial questions, such as similarities and differences in the nature of conspiracy theories over time, the role of the Internet and communications technologies in spreading modern conspiracy theories, and whetherpolitics, economics, media, war, or other factors are most important in popularizing conspiratorial beliefs. Ultimately, they conclude that power asymmetries, both foreign and domestic, are the main drivers behind conspiracy theories, and that those at the bottom of power hierarchies have astrategic interest in blaming those at the top-in other words, "conspiracy theories are for losers." But these "losers" can end up having tremendous influence on the course of history, and American Conspiracy Theories is an unprecedented examination of one of the defining features of Americanpolitical life.

About The Author

Joseph E. Uscinski is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami. Joseph M. Parent is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami.
The People's News: Media, Politics, and the Demands of Capitalism
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by Joseph E. Uscinski


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Title:American Conspiracy TheoriesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:September 18, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199351813

ISBN - 13:9780199351817

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Introduction2. But is it true?3. Where our facts come from4. Who are the conspiracy theorists?5. The ages of conspiracy6. Conspiracy theories are for losers7. Conclusion