conspiracy theory theories

510N1htWewL._SX317_BO1 204 203 200_Ori Freiman at The Berlin Review of Books:

Dentith is a self-described conspiracy theory theorist – meaning he theorizes about conspiracy theories from a standpoint that particular conspiracy theories can be rational (p. 8). In this book he argues that conspiracy theories are worth taking seriously and as such should be analyzed properly. The first step towards an unbiased analysis consists in discarding the pejorative connotations that are currently associated with a belief in conspiracy theory. Once that is behind us, the second step is to seriously consider the extraordinary evidence that conspiracy theories usually cite. It is only after we have considered the evidence that we can move to the third step, which is seriously assessing the conspiracy theory in question – in light of other possible explanations of the event the conspiracy theory was articulated to explain. The book consists of twelve chapters which gradually build upon each other; the division of the book into three successive steps is my own way of outlining the argument.

So why, according to this book, should we discard the pejorative meanings of the term conspiracy theory? Doing so can reveal a lot about those conspiracy theories which are rational. One of the benefits of this approach, so the argument goes, is that it enables us to treat conspiracy theories in various positive ways, for example as a mode of political expression: it enables us to view conspiracy theorists as having an important role within a democratic society – such as exposing certain failures and wrongdoings, just as whistleblowers would. Changing our attitude in this way is not an easy task: the term conspiracy currently holds an extremely large variety of pejorative meanings, perpetuated not least by the vast, and growing, academic literature about conspiracies found in various fields.

more here.