JFK, Karl Marx, the Pope, Aristotle Onassis, Howard Hughes, Fox Mulder, Bill Clinton, both George Bushes—all have been linked to vastly complicated global (or even galactic) intrigues. Two years after Mark Fenster first published Conspiracy Theories, the attacks of 9/11 stirred the imaginations of a new generation of believers. Before the black box from United 93 had even been found, there were theories put forth from the implausible to the offensive and outrageous.
In this new edition of the landmark work, and the first in-depth look at the conspiracy communities that formed to debunk the 9/11 Commission Report, Fenster shows that conspiracy theories play an important role in U.S. democracy. Examining how and why they circulate through mass culture, he contends, helps us better understand society as a whole. Ranging from The Da Vinci Codeto the intellectual history of Richard Hofstadter, he argues that dismissing conspiracy theories as pathological or marginal flattens contemporary politics and culture because they are—contrary to popular portrayal—an intense articulation of populism and, at their essence, are strident calls for a better, more transparent government. Fenster has demonstrated once again that the people who claim someone’s after us are, at least, worth hearing.
|Publisher:||University of Minnesota Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
Table of Contents
Introduction: We're All Conspiracy Theorists Now 1
Conspiracy as Politics
Theorizing Conspiracy Politics: The Problem of the "Paranoid Style" 23
When the Senator Met the Commander: From Pathology to Populism 52
Conspiracy as Cultural Practice
Finding the Plot: Conspiracy Theory as Interpretation 93
Uncovering the Plot: Conspiracy Theory as Narrative 118
Plotting the Rush: Conspiracy, Community, and Play 155
The Prophetic Plot: Millennialism and Christian Conspiracy Theory 197
A Failure of Imagination: Competing Narratives of 9/11 Truth 233
Afterword: Conspiracy Theory, Cultural Studies, and the Trouble with Populism 279
What People are Saying About This
Only a vast academic conspiracy can keep this book from having the impact it deserves.
Fenster's illuminating study sets forth a stimulating correlation between the popularity of our obsessive interest in conspiracy theories and the social and political values of our society.
I find the issue of conspiracy theory compelling and appreciate Fenster's fruitful approach to what has been mysteriously ignored by the academy.
(Barbie Zelizer, author of Covering the Body: The Kennedy Assassination, the Media, and the Shaping of Collective Memory)