By Michael Barkun
What do alien craft believers, Christian millennialists, and right-wing conspiracy theorists have in universal? in accordance with Michael Barkun during this interesting but stressful e-book, rather a lot. it truly is renowned that a few americans are keen about conspiracies. The Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma urban bombing, and the 2001 terrorist assaults have all generated difficult tales of hidden plots. what's a long way much less recognized is the level to which conspiracist worldviews have lately develop into associated in unusual and unpredictable methods with different "fringe" notions resembling a trust in UFOs, Nostradamus, and the Illuminati. Unraveling the extreme genealogies and diversifications of those more and more common rules, Barkun exhibits how this net of city legends has unfold between subcultures on the net and during mass media, how a brand new kind of conspiracy considering has lately arisen, and the way this phenomenon pertains to greater adjustments in American tradition. This e-book, written through a number one professional at the topic, is the main complete and authoritative exam of up to date American conspiracism thus far.
Barkun discusses a number of material--involving inner-earth caves, govt black helicopters, alien abductions, mystery New global Order cabals, and lots more and plenty more--that few detect exists in our tradition. taking a look heavily on the manifestions of those rules in quite a lot of literature and resource fabric from spiritual and political literature, to New Age and alien ship courses, to pop culture phenomena resembling The X-Files, and to web pages, radio courses, and extra, Barkun unearths that the USA is within the throes of an unequalled interval of millennarian job. His e-book underscores the significance of figuring out why this phenomenon is now spreading into extra mainstream segments of yank tradition.
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Extra resources for A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)
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For print media, this has been facilitated by the ubiquitous availability of massmarket paperbacks through large bookstore chains, such as Borders and Barnes and Noble, and specialty stores catering to niche audiences such as evangelical Christians and New Age believers. Millenarian books have proved to be massive sellers— epitomized by the extraordinary success of the Left Behind series of millennialist novels by Tim La Haye and Jim Jenkins, which has sold more than fifty million copies. 5 But changes in electronic communication have been far more im- G&S Typesetters PDF proof 02-C2713 6/13/03 12:46 PM Page 20 20 M I L L E N N I A L I S M A N D S T I G M AT I Z E D K N O W L E D G E portant.
Hence science itself, instead of emerging as a surrogate for religion, has faced challenges to its authority, notably from those claiming access to nonrational forms of knowledge. In short, many forms of authority that might in other circumstances have interfered with the ability of new belief systems to arise have proved unable to do so. Taken together, open communications and weakened authority create an environment favorable to millenarian entrepreneurs. Unconstrained by confessional traditions or ideological systems, they are free to engage in the kind of bricolage that distinguishes the improvisational millenarian style.