Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture
State University of New York Press, 2008 M02 7 - 239 pages
While most other works focus on conspiracy theories, this book examines conspiracy panics, or the anxiety over the phenomenon of conspiracy theories. Jack Z. Bratich argues that conspiracy theories are portals into the major social issues defining U.S. and global political culture. These issues include the rise of new technologies, the social function of journalism, U.S. race relations, citizenship and dissent, globalization, biowarfare and biomedicine, and the shifting positions within the Left. Using a Foucauldian governmentality analysis, Bratich maintains that conspiracy panics contribute to a broader political rationality, a (neo)liberal strategy of governing at a distance through the use of reason. He also explores the growing popularity of 9/11 conspiracy research in terms of what he calls the "sphere of legitimate dissensus." Conspiracy Panics concludes that we are witnessing a new fusion of culture and rationality, one that is increasingly shared across the political spectrum.
Expert Monitors Excessive Skepticismand Preventive Rationality
Journalism New Media Culture and Populism
Gary Webb Popular Technologiesand Professional Journalism
AIDS Biowarfare and the Politics of Articulation
911 Popular Investigations and the Sphere of Legitimate Dissensus
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Page 4 - Each society has its regime of truth, its 'general politics' of truth: that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true; the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true and false statements, the means by which each is sanctioned; the techniques and procedures accorded value in the acquisition of truth; the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true.
Page 61 - The sense of conspiracy and secret scheming which transpire is almost uncanny. "Big Business," and its ruthless tentacles, have become the material for the feverish fantasy of illiterate thousands thrown out of kilter by the rack and strain of modern life.
Page 26 - This means that we want to see what lies behind agitators, administrators, theorists, and other types who play on the public stage.
Page 27 - The problem of politics is less to solve conflicts than to prevent them...
Page 32 - The distinguishing thing about the paranoid style is not that its exponents see conspiracies or plots here and there in history, but that they regard a "vast" or "gigantic" conspiracy as the motive force in historical events. History is a conspiracy, set in motion by demonic forces of almost transcendent power, and what is felt to be needed to defeat it is not the usual methods of political give-and-take, but an all-out crusade.
Page 1 - April 19, 1995, the country was shocked and saddened by the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the resulting loss of life.
Page 38 - The simulacrum is not a degraded copy. It harbors a positive power which denies the original and the copy, the model and the reproduction.
Page 47 - designed to be read, learned, reflected upon, and tested out." They were "functional devices that would enable individuals to question their own conduct, to watch over and give shape to it, and to shape themselves as ethical subjects."43 The key phrase is "shape themselves.
Page 106 - WITHIN THE NEXT 5 TO 10 YEARS, IT WOULD PROBABLY BE POSSIBLE TO MAKE A NEW INFECTIVE MICROORGANISM WHICH COULD DIFFER IN CERTAIN IMPORTANT ASPECTS FROM ANY KNOWN DISEASE-CAUSING ORGANISMS. MOST IMPORTANT OF THESE IS THAT IT MIGHT BE REFRACTORY TO THE IMMUNOLOGICAL AND THERAPEUTIC PROCESSES UPON WHICH WE DEPEND TO MAINTAIN OUR RELATIVE FREEDOM FROM INFECTIOUS DISEASE.