Dr. Joseph Uscinski

Thursday, July 27 2017 at 7:30PM

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39 Ditchling Road

Dr. Joseph Uscinski

What's the talk about?

Why do Americans believe conspiracy theories? Who does the scapegoating, and who is the goat? What role did conspiracy theories play in the election of Donald Trump? Are conspiracy theorists prone to violence, and are we currently in danger from conspiracy theories?

Dr. Uscinski will answer these questions and more by drawing on rich data collected from the internet, newspapers, and surveys. The surprising answers suggest that conspiracy theories are not the product of mental illness, government distrust, or even social exclusion. Nor are conspiracy theories heuristics used to make sense of complicated events or simplify a dizzying world.   

Instead, conspiracy theories are rational reactions to power. They are tools used by the politically weak to balance against potential threat. Whether conspiracy theorists know it or not, their theories must conform to the current distribution of power to resonate. In short, conspiracy theories are for losers.