The diffusion of conspiracy theories. Lessons from a qualitative study

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


In this paper I argue that the study of conspiracy theories can benefit from insights from the field of public opinion research and more specifically, opinion leadership and the diffusion of ideas. To illustrate this point, I draw from findings from a qualitative study of attitudes to crime control (Verfaillie, 2017). In that study I focused on how people inform themselves about crime control and on how they evaluate, interpret and integrate information. By examining how opinions are shaped and transform, by focusing on the process of opinion formation, we can develop a much better understanding of why (particular) conspiracy theories are preferred over other narratives, and are adopted and diffused.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEurocrim2023
Subtitle of host publicationThe Renaissance of European Criminology
PublisherEuropean Society of Criminology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2023
EventEuropean Society of Criminology - Educatorio Fuligno, Firenze, Italy
Duration: 6 Sep 20239 Sep 2023


ConferenceEuropean Society of Criminology


  • diffusion of innovation
  • attitudes
  • discourse analysis
  • sociolinguistics
  • ethnography
  • conspiracy theory
  • great replacement


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