Authoritarian Politics and Conspiracy Fictions: The Case of QAnon

Helen Young, Geoff M. Boucher
2022 Humanities  
The hypothesis of this article is that, for its adherents, QAnon is truthful, rather than true; that is, it captures their perception of the way things typically happen, rather than picturing what really has happened—and it does this in a way that seems more vivid and complete than actual experience. Why that is the case can be explained in terms of the peculiar nature of fictional representations, combined with the capacity of imaginary worlds, to symbolize real-world concerns in ways that
more » ... nate with prejudices and preconceptions but escape direct censure. After reviewing the literature on the conspiracy movement, we argue for QAnon as a conspiracy story, rather than a conspiracy theory, and interpret that story as "structured like a fantasy", giving imaginative expression to a set of social feelings and normative grievances that would otherwise not dare speak their own names. We conclude that QAnon is an authoritarian fiction centered on anti-Semitic conspiracy beliefs that disturbingly reprise key themes of fascism, but that it presents this within the symbolic disguise of a fantasy scenario that is calculated to attract alienated white, middle-class and working-class, individuals. This argument helps explicate adherents' resistance to the falsification of Q claims and predictions.
doi:10.3390/h11030061 fatcat:rzvo5o3uzvhdfmsgfl5ak5cftm