1st Edition

Covid Conspiracy Theories in Global Perspective

Edited By Michael Butter, Peter Knight Copyright 2023
    414 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    414 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Covid Conspiracy Theories in Global Perspective examines how conspiracy theories and related forms of misinformation and disinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic have circulated widely around the world.

    Covid conspiracy theories have attracted considerable attention from researchers, journalists, and politicians, not least because conspiracy beliefs have the potential to negatively affect adherence to public health measures. While most of this focus has been on the United States and Western Europe, this collection provides a unique global perspective on the emergence and development of conspiracy theories through a series of case studies. The chapters have been commissioned by recognized experts on area studies and conspiracy theories.

    The chapters present case studies on how Covid conspiracism has played out (some focused on a single country, others on regions), using a range of methods from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including history, politics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology. Collectively, the authors reveal that, although there are many narratives that have spread virally, they have been adapted for different uses and take on different meanings in local contexts.

    This volume makes an important contribution to the rapidly expanding field of academic conspiracy theory studies, as well as being of interest to those working in the media, regulatory agencies, and civil society organizations, who seek to better understand the problem of how and why conspiracy theories spread.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


    Introduction: Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories in Global Perspective

    Michael Butter and Peter Knight

    Section 1: General Perspectives

    1. The Psychology of Pandemic Conspiracy Theories

    Roland Imhoff

    2. Leak or Leap? Evidence and Cognition Surrounding the Origins of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus

    Stephan Lewandowsky, Peter H. Jacobs and Stuart Neil

    Section 2: Asia

    3. Covid Origins, Nationalism and Diasporic Heterogeneity: China, Chineseness and Covid-19

    Carwyn Morris, Andy Hanlun Li and Lotus Ruan

    4. Dis-Spiracy Theory: Why Corona Rhymes with Corruption in Indonesia

    Nils Bubandt

    5. Covid-19, Conspiracy Narratives, and the Arab State

    Johannes Sauerland

    6. Conspiracy Theories about the Covid-19 Pandemic in Turkey

    Türkay Salim Nefes

    Section 3: Africa

    7. Covid-19 Related Rumors and Conspiracy Theories: A Case Study from Cameroon

    Martina Drescher

    8. "Complòóót?": Theorizing about Covid-19 Conspiracies in Côte d’Ivoire

    Oumarou Boukari and Joschka Philipps

    9. A Disease of the Rich and a Disease of the Poor: Comparing Rumors about the Coronavirus and Ebola in Guinea

    Joschka Philipps and Saïkou Oumar Sagnane

    10. The Constitutional Crisis and the Coronavirus: Conspiracies and Deep Politics during South Africa’s Pandemic

    Nicholas Abrams and Mongezi Bolofo

    11. Africa Out of the Shadows: Authoritarian Anti-Imperialism, Transnational Pentecostalism, and Covid-19 "Conspiracy Theories"

    Laura Meek

    12. "The Truth Is Not Known": Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy as a Failure of Biomedicine’s Moral Legitimacy in Zambia

    Justin Lee Haruyama

    Section 4: Europe

    13. Covid-19-related Conspiracy Theories in the Baltic States

    Mari-Liis Madisson and Andreas Ventsel

    14. Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories in France

    Julien Giry

    15. Covid Conspiracy Theories in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

    Michael Butter

    16. Conspiracy Entrepreneurs, Fringe Movements, and the Pervasive Style of Conspiracy during the Coronavirus Pandemic: The Case of Hungary

    Lili Turza

    17. Italian Uprising from Covid Skepticism to Societal Polarization

    Cecilia Vergnano

    18. The Proliferation of Alternative Media: How Corona Conspiracy Theories in the Netherlands Fostered New Social Movements

    Jaron Harambam

    19. Covid, Conspiracy Theories and the Nordic Countries

    Asbjørn Dyrendal

    20. The Usual Suspects? Conspiracy Theories and the Covid-19 Pandemic in Poland

    Olivia Rachwol

    21. A (Cold) War for Vaccines: Retro-Conspiracism in Kremlin-Aligned Russian Discourse on Sputnik V

    Boris Noordenbos

    22. A Communist Coup by Lockdown: Covid Conspiracy Theories in Spain

    Alejandro Romero-Reche

    Section 5: North America

    23. Anti-Colonialism Meets Anti-Vax Suspicion: The Case of Guadeloupe

    Nicole Simek

    24. A Perfect Storm: Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories in the United States

    Clare Birchall and Peter Knight

    Section 6: South America

    25. Vulnerability and Conspiracy Theories: Latin America in the Time of Covid-19

    Luis Roniger and Leonardo Senkman

    26. "The Communavirus Is Here": Anti-Communist Conspiracy Theories in Brazil’s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

    Katerina Hatzikidi

    Section 7: Oceania

    27. Covid-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand: The Darker Side of Paradise

    Matthew R. X. Dentith


    Michael Butter is Professor of American Studies at the University of Tübingen, Germany. He also directs the ERC-funded project "Populism and Conspiracy Theory." He is the author of The Nature of Conspiracy Theories (2020) and coeditor of the Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories (2020).

    Peter Knight is Professor of American Studies at the University of Manchester, UK. His research is on conspiracy theories and the economic humanities. He is the author of Conspiracy Culture, The Kennedy Assassination, and Reading the Market and is co-author of Invested and Conspiracy Theories in the Time of Covid-19 . He is coeditor of the Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories.