Conspiracy Narratives and Cosmopolitanism : Friends or Warring Brothers ? Article - Décembre 2023

Chloé Chaudet

Chloé Chaudet, « Conspiracy Narratives and Cosmopolitanism : Friends or Warring Brothers ?  », Migrating Minds. Journal of Cultural Cosmopolitanism, décembre 2023, ISSN 2993-1053


Everything seems to oppose the openness of cosmopolitanism to the closure of the imaginary of conspiracy. However, the historicized and comparative study of conspiracy narratives (that is, narratives focused on an unproven secret collective project trying to influence political and social life) shows that they configure various, sometimes quite cosmopolitan, representations of the world. Historical developments of conspiratorial representations (whether fictional or pseudo-factual) and perceptions of globality share various features, as I show first by presenting some major stages in their evolution. I then insist on the opposition, which emerges from the conspiracy narratives taken as a whole, between a radical rejection and a clear valorization of transterritorial and transcultural dynamics. Finally, I consider some more nuanced perceptions of globality elaborated in conspiracy fictional narratives. In all these cases, I focus on a specific context : the Atlantic area in European languages. The study of intercontinental circulations between Europe, the Americas and Africa is not only interesting to address the phenomena of globalization on an intermediate scale. As far as the contemporary era is concerned, these circulations also condition the transnational development of “conspiracy theories” as well as fictional narratives in European languages centered on conspiracies—here called for short “conspiracy fiction(s).” This article thus emphasizes the little known fact that conspiracy fiction constitutes a type of narrative in which cosmopolitan visions of the world are elaborated, the historical depth and topicality of which cannot be denied.

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