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COVID-19 and the rise of the conspiracy: an examination of COVID related conspiracies using Durkheimian concepts

Faculty Advisor




COVID-19, pandemics, conspiracy theories, Durkheim, social media

Abstract (summary)

This paper examines the rise of COVID-19 related conspiracy theories through a Durkheimian lens. Specifically, Durkheim’s concepts of anomie, collective consciousness, and religion can be useful in interpreting the increased participation in conspiracy theory groups. It examines how social distancing measures and government restrictions have led to increased anomie, and how conspiracy theory groups have been used to mitigate this anomic state by introducing shared beliefs and norms. These groups have also created opportunities for people to come together physically and virtually, sharing common beliefs and goals creating a distinct collective consciousness. This paper also focuses on social media’s role in perpetuating conspiracy theories and how online communities create an environment where it becomes difficult to decipher fact from fiction. It also focuses on how online communities foster group cohesion in a virtual environment. In addition, the paper also likens conspiracy groups to religious ones using Émile Durkheim’s definition.

Publication Information

Wesenberg, Madison. 2021. "COVID-19 and the Rise of the Conspiracy: An Examination of COVID Related Conspiracies Using Durkheimian Concepts." Crossing Borders: Student Reflections on Global Social Issues 3(1). doi:10.31542/cb.v3i1.2248


Item Type

Student Article




Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)