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The Importance of Conspiracy Theory in Extremist Ideology and Propaganda

On 16 april 2020, Andrew Fink defended his thesis 'The Importance of Conspiracy Theory in Extremist Ideology and Propaganda'. The doctoral research was supervised by Prof. A. Ellian.

Andrew Fink
16 April 2020
Leiden Repository

Since at least the time of the French Revolution there has been an identifiable tradition of conspiracy theorizing that posits the existence of a powerful secret network that has either taken over the world or is about to take over the world through deception under the guise of championing enlightenment, freedom, self-government, and liberalism. This thesis charts the development of this idea - called the Grand Conspiracy Theory - and examines some of the impact of this idea and demonstrates that it is a cohesive tradition that has had a decisive impact on world affairs. This is especially evident in its role in inspiring violent subversive groups, including with Nazis and radical Islamists, to engage in “counter-conspiracies” against the evil imaginary enemy. This thesis also establishes the crucial importance of propaganda campaigns in shaping and spreading the idea of the Grand Conspiracy Theory.

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