The new european order? Euroscepticism and conspiracy belief

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What do Eurosceptic sentiments and beliefs imply for the tendency to believe conspiracy theories? In the present chapter, we propose that Euroscepticism and belief in conspiracy theories are inherently and mutually related. Furthermore, we develop an argument as to why this may be the case. In particular, Euroscepticism is a central part of the ideologies of radical (i.e., populist, extremist and nationalist) political movements across the EU. The central thrust in such radical mindsets is that the EU is a malevolent entity, undermining national sovereignty caused by the domination within EU institutions. For the left, the EU is a conduit of international capital and (Jewish) bankers conspiring to immiserate the poor, undermine national welfare states and destroy workers’ rights. The thinking style and rhetoric of such radical leftist and rightist movements provide fertile ground for susceptibility to conspiracy theories, in various ways. First, radical political movements typically endorse simple solutions for complex problems. Second, radical political movements typically endorse anti-establishment sentiments. Relatedly, a third aspect of radical political movements is a tendency to dichotomously perceive society as consisting of good groups versus bad groups. Finally, radical political movements endorse their beliefs with excessive confidence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEurope: Continent of Conspiracies
Subtitle of host publicationConspiracy Theories in and about Europe
EditorsAndreas Önnerfors, André Krouwel
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781000373370
ISBN (Print)9780367500672, 9780367500689
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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