2021 Student Research Conference:
34th Annual Student Research Conference

Playful Conspiracies: Exploring Inside Jokes Among College Students


Gianna N. Jamski
Dr. Amber Johnson, Dr. Brian Ott, and Dr. Anton Daughters, Faculty Mentors

Conspiracy theories are found in many aspects of our society and have drawn the attention of researchers because of their interactions with politics. However, little research has been done on the ways conspiracy theories have been used as jokes. This is an important aspect of conspiracies that has gone largely ignored by current literature. Through interviews with undergraduate students, the author discovered how the students defined conspiracy theories and how they used conspiracy theories to interact with their peers. The students’ definitions could be separated into three main categories: theories, stories, and definitions that encompassed both. Their functions highlighted several important aspects of conspiracy theories. At the end, it is emphasized that keeping a broader understanding of conspiracy theories enables researchers to explore more-particular niches within the term ‘conspiracy theory’, and allows them to build a broader topic that encompasses the many functions of conspiracy theories within society.

Keywords: Conspiracy Theories, Conspiracies, Conspiracy Narratives, Conspiracies and Politics, Joking Conspiracies, Stories

Topic(s):Anthropology

Presentation Type: Asynchronous Virtual Oral Presentation

Session: 2-1
Location: https://flipgrid.com/8ce38d74
Time: 0:00

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