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Political Paranoia Versus Political Realism: On Distinguishing between Bogus 'Conspiracy Theories' and Genuine Conspiratorial Politics


Political Paranoia Versus Political Realism: On Distinguishing between Bogus 'Conspiracy Theories' and Genuine Conspiratorial Politics

Abstract: 
Scholars and intellectuals often fail to pay sufficient attention to the historical and political importance of conspiratorial politics, that is, real-world covert
and clandestine activities. This is primarily because they rarely make an effort to distinguish conceptually between such activities, which are a regular if not
omnipresent feature of national and international politics, and bogus ‘conspiracy theories’, elaborate fantasies that purport to show that various sinister, powerful groups with evil intentions, operating behind the scenes, are secretly controlling the course of world events. Bale’s purpose is to provide a clear analytical distinction between actual conspiratorial politics and ‘conspiracy theories’ in the pejorative sense of that term, and to suggest that research methods appropriate to investigating and analysing the former have long been available. In a world full of secret services, surreptitious pressure groups, criminal cartels and terrorist organizations, academics can no longer afford to ignore bona fide conspiratorial activities of various types, which have often had considerable historical significance in the past and are likely to continue to exert an impact on events in the future.

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Full Citation: 

Bale, Jeffrey. 2007. "Political Paranoia Versus Political Realism: On Distinguishing between Bogus 'Conspiracy Theories' and Genuine Conspiratorial Politics." Patterns of Prejudice (February): 45-60. http://www.miis.edu/media/view/18981/original/

START Author(s): 
Jeffrey Bale
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