Are conspiracy theories on the rise? | News and Media

Are conspiracy theories on the rise?

James Tilley, Professor of Politics, has been exploring why we believe in conspiracy theories, if they are increasing in an age of digital communication and whether belief in them is affected by partisan views.

In a BBC Radio 4 programme, he discusses the possibility that we are living in a ‘golden age’ for political conspiracies. Focusing on what these beliefs show us about voters and politicians, Prof Tilley takes an interdisciplinary approach to the dissemination, appeal and thinking behind conspiracy theories.

Prof Tilley’s BBC News article accompanies the radio documentary, focusing on why people believe in conspiracy theories – and how this translates into everyday political thought. He argues that conspiracies are not limited to a particular political standpoint. Instead, they are evidence of how we seek to find stories behind events. Often, these stories turn into a case of “good versus evil”, where the othered group is blamed for a perceived negative event.

This work is a continuation of Prof Tilley’s research into politics and belief. In the past, he has worked with the BBC to discuss topics such as changing the UK’s voting age.

Professor James Tilley is Professor of Politics and Fellow of Jesus College