Conspiracy narratives and ways of knowing are a highly visible, accessible and increasingly commonplace part of contemporary global life, permeating across spheres of politics, science and popular culture. Catalyzed by rapid developments in networked media and a political climate of enhanced government secrecy following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, thinking conspiratorially about power forms part of a broader global public challenge to State control over access to information and knowledge. Rather than relegate the study of conspiracy to a marginalised and discredited form of dissent ('conspiracy theory'), this article proposes how geographers can bring a critical attention to the multiple spatialities inherent in and produced through discourses of conspiracy; the ways of knowing and practising the world which conspiracy informs for differently placed subjects, both publics and politicians alike, across the political spectrum. This discursive understanding of conspiracy is developed in relation to the critical geopolitics scholarship and recent concerns within this literature towards producing more situated, embodied and emotional accounts of geopolitics stemming from engagements with non-representational and feminist theory. Grounding the geopolitical analysis of conspiracy discourse in these concerns, the types of geographies that might emerge is explored through empirical research conducted on and with the 9/11 Truth Movement. Here the convergence of heterogeneous political actors around their conviction in a US government conspiracy exposes some of the possibilities and problematics which attending to the commonplace geopolitics of conspiracy opens up for ongoing research.
Published: January 2012