Taking a global and interdisciplinary approach, the Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories provides a comprehensive overview of conspiracy theories as an important social, cultural and political phenomenon in contemporary life.

This handbook provides the most complete analysis of the phenomenon to date. It analyses conspiracy theories from a variety of perspectives, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. It maps out the key debates, and includes chapters on the historical origins of conspiracy theories, as well as their political significance in a broad range of countries and regions. Other chapters consider the psychology and the sociology of conspiracy beliefs, in addition to their changing cultural forms, functions and modes of transmission. This handbook examines where conspiracy theories come from, who believes in them and what their consequences are.

This book presents an important resource for students and scholars from a range of disciplines interested in the societal and political impact of conspiracy theories, including Area Studies, Anthropology, History, Media and Cultural Studies, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology.

chapter |8 pages

General Introduction

ByMichael Butter, Peter Knight

part Section 1|139 pages

Definitions and approaches

chapter 1.0|5 pages


ByTodor Hristov, Andrew McKenzie-McHarg, Alejandro Romero-Reche

chapter 1.1|12 pages

Conceptual History and Conspiracy Theory

ByAndrew McKenzie-McHarg

chapter 1.2|15 pages

Conspiracy theory in historical, cultural and literary studies

ByMichael Butter, Peter Knight

chapter 1.3|13 pages

Semiotic Approaches to Conspiracy Theories1

ByMassimo Leone, Mari-Liis Madisson, Andreas Ventsel

chapter 1.4|11 pages

Philosophy and Conspiracy Theories

ByJuha Räikkä, Juho Ritola

chapter 1.5|14 pages

Psychoanalysis, Critical Theory and Conspiracy Theory

ByNebojša Blanuša, Todor Hristov

chapter 1.6|13 pages

Conspiracy Theory as Occult Cosmology in Anthropology

ByAnnika Rabo

chapter 1.7|14 pages

Sociology, Social Theory and Conspiracy Theory

ByTürkay Salim Nefes, Alejandro Romero-Reche

chapter 1.8|13 pages

Conspiracy Theories in Political Science and Political Theory

ByJulien Giry, Pranvera Tika

chapter 1.9|14 pages

Social Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

ByOlivier Klein, Kenzo Nera

chapter 1.10|13 pages

Social Network Analysis, Social Big Data and Conspiracy Theories

ByEstrella Gualda Caballero

part Section 2|107 pages

Psychological factors

chapter 2.0|4 pages


ByJan-Willem van Prooijen, Karen M. Douglas, Aleksandra Cichocka, Michał Bilewicz

chapter 2.1|13 pages

Personality traits, cognitive styles and worldviews associated with beliefs in conspiracy theories

ByAnthony Lantian, Mike Wood, Biljana Gjoneska

chapter 2.2|13 pages

Social-cognitive processes underlying belief in conspiracy theories

ByJan-Willem van Prooijen, Olivier Klein, Jasna Milošević Đorđević

chapter 2.3|11 pages

Motivations, Emotions and Belief in Conspiracy Theories

ByKaren M. Douglas, Aleksandra Cichocka, Robbie M. Sutton

chapter 2.4|14 pages

Conspiracy Beliefs as Psycho-Political Reactions to Perceived Power

ByRoland Imhoff, Pia Lamberty

chapter 2.5|13 pages

How Conspiracy Theories Spread

ByAdrian Bangerter, Pascal Wagner-Egger, Sylvain Delouvée

chapter 2.6|12 pages

Conspiracy Theories and Intergroup Relations

ByMikey Biddlestone, Aleksandra Cichocka, Iris Žeželj, Michał Bilewicz

chapter 2.7|11 pages

Consequences of Conspiracy Theories

ByDaniel Jolley, Silvia Mari, Karen M. Douglas

chapter 2.8|14 pages

Countering Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation

ByPéter Krekó

part Section 3|127 pages

Society and Politics

chapter 3.0|4 pages


ByEiríkur Bergmann, Asbjørn Dyrendal, Jaron Harambam, Hulda Thórisdóttir

chapter 3.1|15 pages

Who are the Conspiracy Theorists?

Demographics and conspiracy theories
BySteven M. Smallpage, Hugo Drochon, Joseph E. Uscinski, Casey Klofstad

chapter 3.2|14 pages

Conspiracy Theory Entrepreneurs, Movements and Individuals

ByJaron Harambam

chapter 3.3|12 pages

Conspiracy Theories and Gender and Sexuality

ByAnnika Thiem

chapter 3.4|13 pages

Conspiracy Theories, Political Ideology and Political Behaviour

ByHulda Thórisdóttir, Silvia Mari, André Krouwel

chapter 3.5|13 pages

Functions and Uses of Conspiracy Theories in Authoritarian Regimes

ByJulien Giry, Doğan Gürpınar

chapter 3.6|14 pages

Conspiracy Theory and Populism

ByEiríkur Bergmann, Michael Butter

chapter 3.7|13 pages

Radicalisation and Conspiracy Theories1

ByBenjamin Lee

chapter 3.8|14 pages

Antisemitism and Conspiracism

ByKjetil Braut Simonsen

chapter 3.9|13 pages

Conspiracy Theory and Religion

ByAsbjørn Dyrendal

part Section 4|140 pages

Media and transmission

chapter 4.0|4 pages


ByStef Aupers, Dana Crăciun, Andreas Önnerfors

chapter 4.1|10 pages

Rumours, Urban Legends and the Verbal Transmission of Conspiracy Theories

ByAnastasiya Astapova

chapter 4.2|14 pages

Conspiracy Theorising and the History of Media in the Eighteenth Century

ByAndrew McKenzie-McHarg, Claus Oberhauser

chapter 4.3|12 pages

Genres of Conspiracy in Nineteenth-Century British Writing

ByBen Carver

chapter 4.4|14 pages

Conspiracy in American Narrative

ByTimothy Melley

chapter 4.5|16 pages

Conspiracy Theories and Visual Culture

ByUte Caumanns, Andreas Önnerfors

chapter 4.6|12 pages

Conspiracy Theories in Films and Television Shows

ByMichael Butter

chapter 4.7|14 pages

Decoding Mass Media/Encoding Conspiracy Theory

ByStef Aupers

chapter 4.8|14 pages

The Internet and the Spread of Conspiracy Content1

BySimona Stano

chapter 4.10|13 pages

Conspiracy Theories and Fake News

ByKiril Avramov, Vasily Gatov, Ilya Yablokov

part Section 5|149 pages

Histories and regions

chapter 5.0|4 pages


ByIlya Yablokov, Pascal Girard, Nebojša Blanuša, Annika Rabo

chapter 5.1|11 pages

Conspiracy Theories in the Roman Empire

ByVictoria Emma Pagán

chapter 5.2|13 pages

Conspiracy Theories in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period

ByCornel Zwierlein

chapter 5.3|14 pages

Freemasons, Illuminati and Jews

Conspiracy theories and the French Revolution
ByClaus Oberhauser

chapter 5.4|13 pages

Conspiracy Theories in Europe During the Twentieth Century

ByPascal Girard

chapter 5.5|14 pages

Conspiracy Theories in Putin’s Russia

The case of the ‘New World Order’
ByIlya Yablokov

chapter 5.6|14 pages

Conspiracy Theories in and About the Balkans

ByNebojša Blanuša

chapter 5.7|14 pages

Conspiracy Theories in Turkey1

ByDoğan Gürpınar, Türkay Salim Nefes

chapter 5.8|14 pages

Conspiracy Theories in the Middle East

ByMatthew Gray

chapter 5.9|10 pages

Conspiracy Theories in Southeast Asia

ByViren Swami, Hanoor Syahirah Zahari, David Barron

chapter 5.10|12 pages

Conspiracy Theories in American History

ByMichael Butter

chapter 5.11|14 pages

Populism and Conspiracy Theory in Latin America

A case study of Venezuela
ByRosanne Hooper