American Sociological Association

The Social Determinants of Conspiratorial Ideation

Scholars have recently become increasingly interested in understanding the prevalence and persistence of conspiratorial beliefs among the public as recent research has shown such beliefs to be both widespread and to have deleterious effects on the political process. This article seeks to develop a sociological understanding of the structural conditions that are associated with conspiratorial belief. Using aggregate Google search data to measure public interest in two popular political conspiracy theories, the findings indicate that social conditions associated with threat and insecurity, including unemployment, changes in partisan control of government, and demographic changes, are associated with increased conspiratorial ideation.

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Joseph DiGrazia



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