A Riot of Conspiracies

Gary Alan Fine and Bill Ellis

in The Global Grapevine

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199736317
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866458 | DOI:
A Riot of Conspiracies

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Many rumors concerning the September 11 terrorist attacks claimed that the event was in fact caused by a plot secretly planned by a secret group of evil elites. This chapter proposes a methodology of understanding conspiracy theories as an integrated body of beliefs that make sense of a confusing event by connecting it with deeply ingrained cultural values. Conspiracy has the benefit of seeing order in a disorderly event, and giving people a plausible villain to blame. Initially, many Americans assumed that Arab Americans or Muslims were generally aware of the plot and complicit in it; later, more hardy beliefs held that Israelis or Zionists were actually responsible, or that the Bush administration had cynically orchestrated the attacks to shore up its own credibility at home. Increasingly, these conspiracy beliefs express profound distrust of governments and elite groups of intellectuals.

Keywords: September 11; terrorist; conspiracy; villain; plot; Arab Americans; Muslims; Israelis; Zionists; Bush administration; intellectuals; distrust

Chapter.  8758 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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