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From Factions To Rackets: The Traps Of Conspiracy Thinking

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author begins with a brief review of the definitions and criticisms of conspiracy thinking. The author then shows that such a distinction seems to make its first appearance in Horkheimer's notes on the role of "rackets" in modern capitalist society. The author loosely follows Franz Neumann in putting forward the idea that the popular appeal of conspiracy theories can be thought of as the expression of social and political alienation which is widespread in a society governed by technocratic elites shielded from the population at large. The author then moves on to discuss Adorno who has fleshed out the concept of political alienation by making some interesting observations about paranoid systems of sensemaking and their political consequences. The author concludes with a few remarks on some ambiguities of Adorno's political psychology.

Keywords: Adorno; conspiracy thinking; Franz Neumann; Horkheimer



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