QAnon: An American Story: An in-depth analysis of the QAnon conspiracy movement
The purpose of this research is to provide an in-depth analysis of the QAnon conspiracy movement. This movement preaches the existence of a global cabal consisting of a pedophilic, Satan-worshipping, and child-trafficking elite. This movement came into existence in 2017 as ‘Q’, the anonymous leader of the movement, posted a mysterious and cryptic post on the notorious 4chan platform. The post suggested the existence of the cabal and it predicted the arrest of prominent individuals who were part of this elite. Although the QAnon narrative started as a far-right fringe conspiracy theory, it has grown out to be a radical and extremist movement consisting of thousands of adherents. QAnon played a dominant role in the Capitol siege in early 2021. Because of these radical and violent developments, QAnon should not be neglected and attention should be paid as to why this conspiracy theory has been able to grow into a mass movement particularly in the US. Overall, this research places the QAnon conspiracy movement in a larger historical, social, political, and cultural context. This allows showing whether the movement truly breaks from the past or whether it fits into a larger historical context. This research acknowledges the radical development of the conspiracy narrative and it aims to explain how it transformed into a movement and why this movement is so American. The findings of this research provide a clear insight as to why this is the case, and why the US, in particular, provides such fruitful soil for conspiracy narratives. Although several reasons will be given, the main reasons are the existence of a prosumer culture, combined with the holy character of the right of Freedom of Speech.
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