Embracing paradoxes


conspiracy theory
critical psychology
Lacanian psychoanalysis


In the last decade, cognitive and social psychologists have increasingly been interested in investigating the psychological mechanisms at the root of conspiracy theories (CT). This article offers an interpretation of current Covid-19 CT by analysing the “documentary” Plandemic via political philosophy and psychoanalytic theory. While this philosophical perspective allows the authors to engage with fundamental questions concerning the paradoxical nature of CT, the adopted Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective is employed to examine the psychic motives behind conspiratorial beliefs. The Lacanian concept of jouissance is identified as particularly helpful to understand the link between the individual psyche and the collective, socio-political dimensions inherent to CT. Shifting the focus on the unconscious rather than the self-evident, rational mind, the authors offer a philosophical and psychoanalytical reading of CT that is in line with critical psychology’s agenda to problematize traditional psychology’s assumptions.

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