Performative Prods and Improvisational Ostension in Conspiracy Theories

Jeannie Banks Thomas (Utah State University)

Conspiracy theories that deal with our fears imply an imperative—something along the lines of, “Look, here’s important information. You should do something with it!” Legend ostension often involves acting out script that is more explicit. Frequently, conspiracy theories do not necessarily provide a text for specified and clear actions. This paper explores how--even without providing a call to action--conspiracy theories can prod a person toward individual and improvisational action.

Part of 08-02 Approaches to Conspiracy Theory: Time, Parody, Politics, and Ostension, Saturday, October 15, 10:30 am–12:30 pm