The "Global and Local Conspiracy Theories in Armenia" project delves into the complexities of conspiracy theories. This multidisciplinary endeavor aims to uncover the origins, motives, and societal repercussions of these theories.
The nature of conspiracy theories underwent changes through the centuries. In the 21st century, conspiracies are globalized, meaning such theories are part of a global narrative rather than specific and territorial. It is acknowledged that conspiracy theories emerge at times of uncertainty and crises․ In different contexts, these forces vary. For instance, during electoral campaigns, conspiracy theories draw the distinction of good and evil between opposing political parties and intend to create a positive image of a political party by arousing resentment and intolerance towards others. That is why conspiracy theories oftentimes become part of the manipulative discourse - to manipulate facts, beliefs, and values as a way to gain support and adherents who will push forward the same political agendas.
In the Armenian post-war, post-pandemic environment, where the country was also going through a political crisis, emerging conspiracy theories were interlinked with one another. The overarching themes of conspiracies were the pandemic, the Karabakh conflict, and the parliamentary elections which intersected while narrativizing them in the public discourse.
The aftermath of the 2018 Velvet Revolution brought forth new narratives interpreting ongoing social and political developments. The parliamentary elections in 2021 served as a catalyst for the resurgence of conspiracy theories in Armenia. The election period saw political parties leveraging media, specifically social media, to advance their ideologies, frequently through the promotion of conspiracy theories. The prevalence of social media as the primary information source in Armenia facilitated the infiltration of conspiracy theories into daily life. This infiltration caused widespread panic, heightened fears related to national identity and territorial integrity, and cultivated a culture of suspicion within society. Regardless of several interventions that were meant to increase public awareness on this matter, conspiracies continued to disseminate and shape different viewpoints since they have epistemic nature.
Addressing the conspiracy theories in Armenia
“Global and Local Conspiracy Theories in Armenia” intersectional project documented and problematized this situation using different methodologies and formats.
The outcomes of the projects are:
Creation of the “Davaditaran” podcast in a framework of which researchers with experience in studying conspiracy theories analyzed the situation from different perspectives (politics, language, culture, etc.).
Analytical articles written by esteemed journalists and researchers;
Visuals created by artists that served as means to intervene in the public urban spaces;
Library with books on conspiracy theories aimed to raise awareness of the society about the subject.