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Functions and Uses of Conspiracy Theories in Authoritarian Regimes

Abstract : The ideological formation and modes of legitimisation of authoritarian regimes are a major factor in the employment and pervasiveness of conspiracy theories. Authoritarian ideologies are characterised by an unshakeable belief in their righteousness and a tendency to provide comprehensive explanations for complex events, which renders them prone to conspiracy theories. This chapter explores the uses and functions of conspiracy theories in authoritarian regimes, showing how conspiracy theories are used as propaganda, allowing regimes to identify and denounce perceived enemies and silence political opponents. In authoritarian contexts, conspiratorial rhetoric used by the regimes is expedient for mobilising masses, reinforcing incumbent structures of power and authority, and assuring the loyalty of the people. Conspiracy theories are used to reaffirm the dominant and established values of an ingroup while identifying and subsequently portraying outsiders in a negative light. Conspiracy theories express a reductionism that serves and contributes to uphold, promote and reinforce conventional behaviours, while discrediting or delegitimising inappropriate or marginal ones.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 9:36:21 AM
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  • HAL Id : hal-02737282, version 1

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Julien Giry, Doğan Gürpınar. Functions and Uses of Conspiracy Theories in Authoritarian Regimes. Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories, 2020. ⟨hal-02737282⟩

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