Presenter Information

Katie TennantFollow

Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

conspiracies, society, government

Biography

Katie is a senior at Marshall University pursuing a double major in Anthropology and History, as well as a minor in Spanish.

Major

Anthropology and History

Advisor for this project

Marty Laubach

Start Date

18-4-2019 2:00 PM

End Date

18-4-2019 3:15 PM

Abstract

Political conspiracy theories have been ingrained in American culture since the country’s birth. People have long distrusted government, central authority, and other institutional bodies of power. This capstone research project examines this long-standing distrust in relation to conspiracy theories and the social implications intertwined with such “uncommon” beliefs. This study is conducted through one-on-one interviews with students enrolled in a political conspiracies course at Marshall University, a group containing both believers and non-believers. An additional method of the study is a Qualtrics survey available to all enrolled students of Marshall University. The combination of interviews and survey responses will aid in examining people’s attitudes towards conspiracy theories and attitudes towards theorists. Questions pertaining to believers will address their methods and evidence for believing in alternate accounts, and questions pertaining to non-believers will aim to understand what draws them to this topic despite their skepticism of theories. The results will also shed light on people’s attitudes towards government and those in power, and any connection those attitudes might have to beliefs in conspiracy theories.

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Apr 18th, 2:00 PM Apr 18th, 3:15 PM

Stigmatized Suspicion: The Who, What, and Why of Political Conspiracy Theory

Political conspiracy theories have been ingrained in American culture since the country’s birth. People have long distrusted government, central authority, and other institutional bodies of power. This capstone research project examines this long-standing distrust in relation to conspiracy theories and the social implications intertwined with such “uncommon” beliefs. This study is conducted through one-on-one interviews with students enrolled in a political conspiracies course at Marshall University, a group containing both believers and non-believers. An additional method of the study is a Qualtrics survey available to all enrolled students of Marshall University. The combination of interviews and survey responses will aid in examining people’s attitudes towards conspiracy theories and attitudes towards theorists. Questions pertaining to believers will address their methods and evidence for believing in alternate accounts, and questions pertaining to non-believers will aim to understand what draws them to this topic despite their skepticism of theories. The results will also shed light on people’s attitudes towards government and those in power, and any connection those attitudes might have to beliefs in conspiracy theories.