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Conspiracy Culture: From Kennedy to The X Files [Kindle Edition]

Dr Peter Knight , Peter Knight
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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  • Print ISBN-10: 0415189772
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0415189774


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Book Description

Conspiracy Culture investigates conspiracy theories in contemporary American culture, asking why conspiracy narratives are so popular and so ubiquitous, and relates conspiracy culture to postmodernity and millennial anxieties.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Knight is Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Manchester.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1180 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Routledge (April 15, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,359,739 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Peter Knight is Professor of American Studies at Manchester University, UK. In this literate, scholarly but eminently readable book published at the turn of the present century, he examines the development of what has always been known as `the paranoid style' on the fringe of American literature and political discourse into a widespread cultural phenomenon, where countercultural suspicions about authority have led to a climate where `a paranoid attitude is both routine and ironic.'

Conspiracy theories, the author demonstrates, have traditionally functioned either to bolster a sense of an `us' threatened by a sinister `them' or to justify the scapegoating of usually blameless victims - Jews or some other group who is `not us', the current political class, or whoever. This phenomenon has now been expanded to fulfil a wider range of psychological and social functions. The manufacture of bogus conspiracy theories has mutated from obsession with scapegoating an imagined `enemy' to a more generalised feeling about `conspiring forces' to explain feelings of powerlessness; away from a secure, identity-reinforcing paranoia to a less secure climate of anxiety which views everything with suspicion. Knight demonstrates how this is an understandable (albeit irrational) response to increasing societal complexity, multi-ethnic globalization, growing bureaucratic interference in the lives of citizens, and information-overload in post-industrial societies.

The author cites academics such as Daniel Pipes, who points out that the world wide web is an ideal medium for conspiracy-propagandists as "the very technology mesmerizes its viewers into credulity", and Elaine Showalter, who received death threats from conspiracy theorists following the publication of her book `Hystories'.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Peter Knight is a scholar of American Studies now at the University of Manchester (UK), with an excellent reputation and a demonstrated empirical in the largely American phenomenom that calls into question what Knight would call "the narratives of authorities and the authority of narratives."

This excellent book is a demonstration of why American Studies scholars from abroad often can brilliantly inform our understanding of ourselves.

He generally uses methods from the cultural studies field not, as the previous reviewer would have it, to bash conspiracy theorists themselves or their notions of reality.

His goal is to demonstrate how American conspiracy culture of the last 50 years tries to make sense of ideas about causality, agency and responsibility in the global era, one in which we suffer from too much information and an overload of "meaning."

He certainly lit up the attic for me.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tedious. May 28, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It makes some points. I've read only twenty some odd pages. I feel like I'm reading the author's PhD thesis. It will take some determination to get further.
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