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"Conspiracism" is a term used by social scientists and scholars to refer to adherents of conspiracy theory and their way of looking at history and the world around them. The term was popularized by academic Frank P. Mintz in the 1980s.

According to Mintz, conspiracism denotes: "belief in the primacy of conspiracies in the unfolding of history" (1985: p.4):

"Conspiracism serves the needs of diverse political and social groups in America and elsewhere. It identifies elites, blames them for economic and social catastrophes, and assumes that things will be better once popular action can remove them from positions of power. As such, conspiracy theories do not typify a particular epoch or ideology" (1985: p.199).

The term has also been used by other authors including Michael Kelly, Chip Berlet, and Matthew N. Lyons.

According to Berlet and Lyons, "Conspiracism is a particular narrative form of scapegoating that frames demonized enemies as part of a vast insidious plot against the common good, while it valorizes the scapegoater as a hero for sounding the alarm" (2000: p. 9).

"Conspiracy nut" is a pejorative term sometimes used to describe a conspiracist. It is based upon the perception that such beliefs are unfounded, outlandish, or irrational, or are otherwise unworthy of serious consideration.


See also


External links



  • Michael Barkun. 2003. A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. Berkeley: Univ. of California. ISBN 0520238052
  • Robert Alan Goldberg. 2001. Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300090005
  • Chip Berlet & Matthew N. Lyons. 2000. Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. New Yoirk: Guilford Press.
  • Daniel Pipes. 1998. The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  • Daniel Pipes. 1997. Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From. New York: The Free Press.
  • Frank P. Mintz. 1985. The Liberty Lobby and the American Right: Race, Conspiracy, and Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood. ISBN 031324393X
  • Richard Hofstadter. 1965. The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0674654617
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