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What conspiracy theories can tell us about politics in Greece

Papazoglou, Alexis, (2017), “What conspiracy theories can tell us about politics in Greece”, EUROPP, 7 March

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a talk on conspiracy theories. Hugo Drochon, a post-doc for the Conspiracy and Democracy project at the University of Cambridge, presented the results of a YouGov poll on questions dealing with the extent to which people held conspiracy theory-like beliefs. The findings showed that conspiracy theories are held by people throughout society, independently of their education, gender, age and income, but that societies with less social cohesion, and higher economic inequality are more prone to believing in them overall.

Greece falls perfectly into this category. Economic inequality has risen during the many years of recession since 2009, reflected in high unemployment rates, and at the same time Greek society has become more polarised, as the 2015 referendum showed. Indeed, a poll in 2014 conducted by the University of Macedonia in Greece confirmed this hypothesis. It revealed that 68.7% believed a cure for cancer had been discovered but was being kept from the public, 58.7% believed that the 9/11 attacks were organised by the US government as an instrument of foreign policy, and – most relevant to Greece’s current predicament – 75.3% of the Greek population believed that the crisis in Greece was orchestrated by foreign powers.

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