Close Readings of Historical and Fictional Narratives of Conspiracy Theories: Challenging the Dominant Narrative

Close Readings of Historical and Fictional Narratives of Conspiracy Theories: Challenging the Dominant Narrative

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Conspiracy theories have gained a greater discourse in the twenty-first century. Fictional narratives, Hollywood blockbusters, television series and documentaries, and many other pop culture mediums have used conspiracies to spin tales and capture an audience. In this essay I would like to argue that the dominant narrative of a historical event exists because the elite have the power to manipulate and transform it. The group in power values a hegemonic society, perpetuating certain myths in order to create social cohesion within a nation. As a result, conspiracy theories challenge the dominant narrative. This challenge is how subscribers use conspiracy to attempt agency over the elite. I will use the sinking of the Titanic and Don DeLilo’s novel, Libra, to demonstrate how the elite fight for narrative control and how a close reading of these narratives is necessary to evaluate conspiracy theories.
In conspiracy theories, the elite represent the individuals and groups who have power. This small population has access to a large amount of money and resources, giving them an advantage over anyone who lacks this access. The elite can represent the conflict between high class versus the low and working class. Also, the government and any governing leadership can be considered the elite over the rest of the nation. This distinction will be important when discussing why people invest in conspiracy theories.
The dominant narrative is the story of an event that has gained support from the powerful, the narrative that has been written into historical texts and taught to each generation. Most importantly, the dominant narrative is what has existed throughout time because of the elite’s control. It is one version of the “truth”. Following th...

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