- explain something bad, a failure, a disaster etc. in relatively simple and plausible terms
- attribute the failure to the actions of somebody (the ‘agent’) who stands to gain from the accident, disaster or failure
- invest the agent with malevolent intentions, cunning and diabolical ability to subvert every attempt at unmasking.
- incorporate every detail, action and incident within this overall plot.
Does any of this matter? Of course it does, given how prominent conspiracy theories have become in contemporary discourses (Oreskes & Conway, 2010). Here are some examples:
- Food scares
- Health scares (e.g. inoculation)
- Climate change (from both sides)
- Politics plots and scenarios
- Business conspiracies and cover ups