Fake Empowerment: On Conspiracism and Political Judgement (second of three seminars in the Populism and Religion Seminar Series, autumn 2023). Rickard Andersson.

12 October 2023 16:15 to 18:00 Seminar

In contemporary conspiracism, people are often urged to go, by themselves, beyond what things seem to be and reveal the real truth hidden beneath surface phenomena. This is epitomized in the phrase “Do your own research!”, common in conspiracist discourse. With such encouragements, conspiracism offers empowerment through factual knowledge and the ability to make independent and informed political judgements. On the other hand, its questioning and suspicion is so profound that it covers not only what is real but also the meaningfulness of realness. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, I highlight the important connection between a shared sense of reality and political judgement and argue that conspiracism rather impairs political judgement and offers only fake empowerment.

Rickard Andersson is a research fellow in political science at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University. His research is mostly on political theory and the history of Western political thought, and he is currently involved in a project concerning conspiracy theories and post-truth politics. 


About the Seminar Series

Formerly under the umbrella of Lund’s research platform on Christianity and Nationalism, the seminar series on populism and religion is now organized by the Lund University-based research project Beyond Truth and Lies: Conspiracy Theories, Post-Truth, and the Conditions of Public Debate. The series focuses on the theoretical, philosophical, and theological dimensions of populism, with special attention to how conspiracy theories intersect with populism.

Certain conceptions of politics – including political community, political processes, and political decision-making – characterize typical formulations of populist thought. A fundamental conviction of this seminar series is that we must investigate these conceptions if we want to engage in dialogue that goes beyond plain-sense descriptions of, or explanations for, facts, and which deeply addresses questions about how society is – and ought to be – organized. Conspiracy theories – including corresponding elements of culture that shape and are shaped by conspiracy theories – have become increasingly more public in their significance on politics, political decisions, and political movements. We welcome to our seminars a range of intellectually interested parties to discuss these matters, including senior and junior scholars, doctoral students, and beginners.

Seminars are in English, unless otherwise specified. Seminars are open to the public; you may attend by joining on Zoom.

Zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/62645329724

Meeting ID: 626 4532 9724

16h15–18h00, Swedish time [CEST]


About the event:

12 October 2023 16:15 to 18:00

Zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/62645329724


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