1. The Temptation of Conspiracy Theory, or: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? Part I: Preliminary Draft of a Theory of Conspiracy Theories.- Initial Approach to a Definition of the Term.- Are Adherents of Conspiracy Theories Paranoid?.- Conspiracy Theory Constructs in the Science of History.- Universal-Historical Phases or a Universal-Historical Caesura in the 18th Century?.- 2. The Temptation of Conspiracy Theory, or: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? Part II: Case Studies.- The "Jewish Conspiracy" in the Late Middle Ages.- Witch Pattern and Witch-Hunt.- The "Conspirations" of Rebellious Peasants in the 17th and 18th Centuries.- The Famine Plot "Persuasion" in 18th century France.- The French Revolution: A Conspiracy Against State and Religion.- Counter Revolution and the Boom in Conspiracy Theories.- The "Testament" of Peter the Great: The First Fabrication of a Conspiracy Theory.- The Secular Boom Infects a Representative of a Structural History Theory: Karl Marx and the Russian Design to Overthrow Europe.- The Theory of Labor-Aristocracy: Conspiracy Theory in the Realm of Materialist Theory of History.- The "Dagger Legend" in Post-War Germany.- 3. "Man-Eating" and the Myths of the "New World" - Anthropological, Pictorial, and Literary Variants.- 4. Demoniac Conspiracy.- 5. The Conspiratorial Imperative: Medieval Jewry in Western Europe.- The Conspiratorial Imperative.- The Conspiratorial Imperium.- 6. The Topic of the Jewish Conspiracy in Russia (1905-1920), and the International Consequences.- 7. Anti-Semitic Themes and the British Far Left: Some Social-Psychological Observations on Indirect Aspects of the Conspiracy Tradition.- On the Jewish Question.- Nation, Religion, and Judaism.- Anti-Semitism and Nazism.- Left-Wing Themes and Conspiracy.- 8. Social Conflict and Conspiracy in Nuremberg 1789-1797.- 9. The Conspiracy Mentality.- The Hand of the Stranger.- A Modern Mentality and Its Principal Characteristics.- Hostility Toward and Fear of Minorities.- The Conspiracy Mentality and Resentment.- Remarks on Resentment and Its Consequences.- Conspiracy as Strategy and Means to Mobilize the Masses.- Conclusion.- 10. Paranoic Conspiratory Delusion.- Kraepelin and Freud.- The Experience of Reality and the Cathexis of the Outside World.- Paranoic Conspiracy Delusion as a Local and Partial Dissociation of Cathexis.- Natural Obviousness, Trust, Cooperation, and Division of Labor.- Cathexis Hole and Cathexis Fillings.- The Economy of Cathexis: Amount, Covering, Metabolism.- Outlook.- 11. Conspiracy Theory in Conflict Escalation.- The Neighborhood Controversy.- The Crisis at UB.- The Process of Escalation.- Impact of Conspiracy Theory on Conflict.- Origins of Conspiracy Theory in Conflict.- Conclusions.- 12. Self/Other Relations and the Social Nature of Reality.- The Ideology of Success and Failure in Certain Western Cultures.- The Nature of Social and of Optical Illusions.- Heider's Naive Psychology of Interpersonal Relations.- 13. Blame-Placing Schemata and Attributional Research.- The Psychological Interest of Conspiracy Theories.- The Attribution Paradigm in Social Psychology.- Research on Defensive Attributional Tendencies.- Informational and Motivational Influences on Attributions: Disjunctive Versus Conjunctive Interpretations.- Conspiracy Theories: Truth or Illusion?.- Research on Attributional Errors.- Exchanging People's Biases: The Theory of Lay Epistemology.- The Epistemic Process and Conspiracy Theories.- Conclusions.- 14. Extremist Political Positions and Perceptions of Conspiracy: Even Paranoids Have Real Enemies.- Societal Trust and the Rise of Postmaterialism.- Conclusion.- 15. Conspiracy: History and Social Psychology-A Synopsis.- Makers and Movers.- The Structure and Dynamics of Attributing Conspiracy.- Crowd Mind, Leadership, and Conspiracy.- Author Index.
The contents of the first two volumes were, we gladly admit, at once more familiar and easier to handle. We were concerned with mass and leadership psychology, two factors that we know from social and political life. They have been much studied and we can clearly trace their evolution. However, since actions by masses and leaders also have an intellectual and emotional side, we were obliged, in some way or other, to deal with this topic as well. It was obviously necessary, it seemed to us, to approach this study from a new and significant angle. One cannot escape the realiza tion that "conspiracy theory" has played, and continues to play, a central role in our epoch, and has had very serious consequences. The obsession with conspiracy has spread to such an extent that it continuously crops up at all levels of society. The fol lowing paradox must be striking to anyone: In the past, society was governed by a small number of men, at times by one individual, who, within traditional limits, imposed his will on the multitude. Plots were effective: By eliminating these individuals and their families, one could change the course of events. Today, this is no longer the case. Power is divided among parties and extends throughout society. Power flows, changes hands, and affects opinion, which no one controls and no one represents entirely.
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