Trust and conspiracy theories

In May, Counterpoint published a report on the French public’s interest in conspiracy theories. The findings were striking – 1 in 2 people believed that the government was not running the country and that they did not know who was pulling the strings. Moreover, 20 per cent believed that “some religious groups” and 27 per cent believed that secret groups such as the Free Masons were controlling France from behind the scenes. While it is expected that the public are sceptical of the exact nature of political power – particularly given growing globalisation, the impact of the financial crisis, and recent revelations such as the Wikileaks scandals – it is still surprising that this scepticism is so widespread and runs so deep.

These beliefs can be easily manipulated and harvested by those who want to undermine democratic institutions or target minority groups. A belief that certain religious groups are pulling the strings, for instance, can be latched on to by people who aim to stigmatise and vilify those groups.

Read the full article on the website of Counterpoint.

Categories Analyses, France, News | Tags: | Posted on July 3, 2013

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