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Corona Madness? On the Sociology of Conspiracy Theories

Sociologický ústav SAV Vás srdečne pozýva na septembrový ústavný seminár, na ktorom s prednáškou "Corona Madness? On the Sociology of Conspiracy Theories" vystúpi Dr. Jaron Harambam z Inštitútu pre mediálne štúdiá KU Leuven v Belgicku. Prednáška sa uskutoční 9.9.2021 o 13:30 v zasadačke č. 94 prezenčne.

The Institute for Sociology of SAS invites you to its next seminar with Dr. Jaron Harambam from the Institute for Media Studies of KU Leuven, Belgium, who will present his paper "Corona Madness? On the Sociology of Conspiracy Theories". The seminar will be held in English at Klemensova 19, room no. 94 on September, 9 2021 at 13:30.

Krátky popis príspevku / Short description of the presentation:

The Truth dominates many public discussions today. Conventional truths from established epistemic authorities about all sorts of issues, from climate change to terrorist attacks or the current corona crisis, are increasingly challenged by ordinary citizens and presidents alike. These alternative ideas about what is really going on are commonly framed as conspiracy theories: allegations of covert actions of a secret group pulling the strings behind the screen of everyday reality. While this category is not as straightforward as it seems since various labelling processes are at play, the common stereotype is that these ideas are irrational, ludicrous and dangerous. Similarly, conspiracy theorists are seen as overly paranoid people with militant minds. But are these stereotypical ideas about conspiracy theories/ists empirically grounded, and what do such perspectives highlight and obfuscate? In this talk, I will draw on years of ethnographic research in the Dutch conspiracy milieu to elaborate on the question what conspiracy theories are about, who the people are that adhere to those, and how we can explain contemporary distrusts towards official truths. I explain why we need to stay sensitive to the everyday meanings of conspiracy theories and to the diversity of people and worldviews involved. Based on my research, I propose various alternatives to "debunking/fack-checking" as the common way of dealing with conspiracy theories/ists.