Special Issue: Conspiracy Theories and the Study of Alternative and Emergent Religions

This introduction addresses a number of approaches to the emerging field of the study of conspiracy theories and new and alternative religions. Scholars can examine how certain religious groups have been the subject of conspiracy narratives created by the wider culture, and how conspiracy narratives are mobilized within religious groups such as Aum Shinrikyo, Scientology or others. Moreover, we can fruitfully examine secular conspiracy theories through ideas typically applied to religions, such as theodicy, millenarianism, and esoteric claims to higher knowledge. Most studies assume that conspiracy theories indicate pathology—paranoia or simply stupidity. Increasingly however, scholars have begun to interpret the term “conspiracy theory” as operating polemically to stigmatize certain beliefs and ideas. The field therefore offers a microcosm of broader trends in the interplay of knowledge and power. The study of both new and emergent religions and conspiracy theories comes of age only when we cease to think of them as necessarily deviant and irrational. Read more.


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Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions: 19 (2)

Vol. 19 No. 2
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ISSN: 1092-6690
eISSN: 1541-8480
Frequency: Quarterly
Published: August, November, February, May


About the Journal

Nova Religio presents scholarly interpretations and examinations of emergent and alternative religious movements. Original research, perspectives on the study of new religions, literature reviews, and conference updates keep scholars well informed on a wide range of topics including: new religions; new movements within established religious traditions; neo-indigenous, neo-polytheistic and revival movements; ancient wisdom and New Age groups; diasporic religious movements; and marginalized and stigmatized religions.


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