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Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them$
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Joseph E. Uscinski

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190844073

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190844073.001.0001

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The History of Conspiracy Theory Research

The History of Conspiracy Theory Research

A Review and Commentary

Chapter:
(p.33) 2 The History of Conspiracy Theory Research
Source:
Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them
Author(s):

Michael Butter

Peter Knight

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190844073.003.0002

How has academic research into conspiracy theories developed over time? This chapter demonstrates that scholarly interest only emerged in the 1930s as part of psychohistorical explorations into the origins of totalitarianism. This line of research continued into the 1950s and influenced public opinion on the subject matter, as it received a lot of media attention. The common denominator of these earliest studies is that they pathologize conspiracy theories and those who believe in them. This tendency is to a certain degree still palpable in the most recent research in social psychology and political science which employs sophisticated quantitative methodologies.

Keywords:   conspiracy theory, psychohistory, pathologizing approach, cultural studies, social psychology, conspiracy ideation, analytical philosophy

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