• The bitter end: apocalypse and conspiracy in white nationalist responses to the Islamic State attacks in Paris.

      Wilson, Andrew Fergus; University of Derby (Taylor and Francis, 2017-11-21)
      Wilson's article examines how apocalyptic thinking converges with the use of conspiracy theory in white nationalist world-views at a time of crisis. Apocalyptic thinking is, typically, a religious response to secular threats to the faith community that prophesize, or are attendant on, the End. These millenarian outlooks provide communities in crisis a promise of confirmation of the object of their faith, the vanquishing of enemies and, crucially, continuity for the community in a better world to come. In the latter half of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first, apocalypticism and conspiracy theory have tended to coincide. The tendency towards a binary distinction between terms of absolute good and absolute evil, and the revelation of secrets relating to human destiny through prophesy or ‘truth-seeking’ provide a broad transposability between the two interpretative strategies. An increasing amalgamation of political paranoia and eschatology have given rise to what has been termed ‘conspirituality’. Much recent white nationalist rhetoric can be understood as emerging from this discursive position, and Wilson's analysis will demonstrate how one white nationalist community drew on conspiratorial apocalypticism in its response to the multiple attacks by Islamic State in Paris on 13–14 November 2015.
    • Postcards from the cosmos: Cosmic spaces in alternative religion and conspiracy theories.

      Wilson, Andrew Fergus; University of Derby (Astrosociology Research Institute, 2017-08-28)
      If conspiracy theory is the narration of fears of existential dread, of a potentially apocalyptical plot against ‘us’, then we can understand alien conspiracies as a dread of the coming of ‘cosmological humanity’ and the end of ‘geostationary man’. In escaping gravity’s hold a terminal velocity is achieved by a species ready to mythologize, even sacralise, its achievements and to enchant the Heavens once again in terms more suited to the technological age. Virgiliu Pop’s astrosociology will provide a means for framing the uniqueness of post-Gagarin conspiracist spiritualities within the particular religious cultures of cosmic humanity whilst Raymond Williams’ concept of structures of feeling will be drawn upon to understand the cultural significance of these spiritualities.
    • #whitegenocide, the alt-right and conspiracy theory: How secrecy and suspicion contributed to the mainstreaming of hate.

      Wilson, Andrew Fergus; University of Derby (San Jose State University, 2018-02-16)
      This article considers the relationship between “hashtag activism” as it is currently being used by the alt-right and the tendency to draw on conspiracy theory that Richard Hofstadter identified as being prevalent among what he termed “pseudo-conservatives” half a century earlier. Both the alt-right and Hofstadter’s “pseudo-conservatives” can be characterised by a pronounced populist nationalism that understands its aims as protecting a particular way of life whilst drawing on an aggrieved sense of injustice at being conspired against by an unseen enemy. That this “enemy” is typically foreign in actuality or in spirit confirms the cultural dimension on which their politics is played out. It is argued here that this paranoid populist nationalism has been figuratively drawn upon in the rhetoric of Donald Trump and that this apparent openness to the “pseudo-conservative” discourse on nationalism has provided a bridging effect via which far right elements are seeking to normalize extremist viewpoints.