Paranoia Within Reason: A Casebook on Conspiracy as Explanation

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George E. Marcus
University of Chicago Press, 1999 M02 15 - 440 pages
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Like the McCarthy era of the 1950s, there is a strong current of paranoid social thought as the end of the century approaches. Conspiracy theories abound, not only in extremist ideologies and groups, but in commerce, science, and economics-arenas where a paranoid style is least expected. A curiosity about paranoia at its most reasonable is at the root of this volume.

Some pieces develop conversations that reveal the post-Cold War situations of countries such as Italy, Russia, Slovenia, and the United States where conspiratorial explanations of national dramas seem to make sense. Other pieces tackle paranoia as a style of debate in such diverse realms as science, psychotherapy, and popular entertainment, where conspiracy theories emerge as a compelling way to address the inadequacies of rational expertise and organization in the face of immense changes that undermine them. Like all of the volumes in the Late Edition series, Paranoia Within Reason offers a provocative challenge to our ways of understanding the ongoing watershed changes that face us.

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Contents

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About the author (1999)

George E. Marcus is professor of political science at Williams College.

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