Covid Conspiracy Theories in Global Perspective
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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 US 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 recognised 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 organisations, who seek to better understand the problem of how and why conspiracy theories spread.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories in Global Perspective
Michael Butter and Peter Knight
Section 1: General Perspectives
1. The Psychology of Pandemic Conspiracy Theories
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
5. Covid-19, Conspiracy Narratives, and the Arab State
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
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"
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
15. Covid Conspiracy Theories in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
16. Conspiracy Entrepreneurs, Fringe Movements, and the Pervasive Style of Conspiracy during the Coronavirus Pandemic: The Case of Hungary
17. Italian Uprising from Covid Skepticism to Societal Polarization
18. The Proliferation of Alternative Media: How Corona Conspiracy Theories in the Netherlands Fostered New Social Movements
19. Covid, Conspiracy Theories and the Nordic Countries
20. The Usual Suspects? Conspiracy Theories and the Covid-19 Pandemic in Poland
21. A (Cold) War for Vaccines: Retro-Conspiracism in Kremlin-Aligned Russian Discourse on Sputnik V
22. A Communist Coup by Lockdown: Covid Conspiracy Theories in Spain
Section 5: North America
23. Anti-Colonialism Meets Anti-Vax Suspicion: The Case of Guadeloupe
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
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 co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories (2020).
Peter Knight is a 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 co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories.