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Friday, May 24, 2024

Culture, Community and Narratives: Key Elements of Violent Conspiracy Theories

Narratives and social dynamics exist in constant dialogue with one another within online conspiracy communities.

The vast majority of people who are influenced by conspiracy theories and disinformation, even those who adhere to extreme and violent worldviews, will never go on to commit physical violence as a result of those views. When a conspiracy theorist does escalate to violence, however, that action emerges partly due to individual circumstances, and partly due to the confluence of conspiratorial narratives and social dynamics within conspiracy communities to which that person belongs. While analysis of any particular individual’s motives is beyond the scope of this Insight, there are some commonalities which are observable in both the narratives and social structures of conspiracy theory communities where escalation to violence occurs.

Narratives and social dynamics exist in constant dialogue with one another within online conspiracy communities. While key themes and characters persist over time, the details of narratives are constantly in flux and can change (sometimes rapidly) because of shifts in power and influence within communities. This, in turn, can heighten or lessen the risk of escalation to violence from members of those communities.

Indeed, in many cases, the narratives appear to be much more malleable than the social dynamics within a given community; where a discrepancy between the two emerges, it appears to be more often the case that the narrative is changed to fit the social dynamics than the other way around. This includes cases when communities and individuals begin to become more permissive of violent action and edge closer to escalation.

Read more at the Global Network on Extremism and Technology

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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