Course Schedule

Veranstaltungen von Lena Kostuj


Entrepreneurship - Conspiracy entrepreneurship & the business of polarization (Seminar)

Dozent/in: Lena Kostuj

wöchentlich | Montag | 12:15 - 13:45 | 02.04.2024 - 03.06.2024 | C 6.317 Seminarraum
Einzeltermin | Mo, 24.06.2024, 10:15 - Mo, 24.06.2024, 13:45 | C 40.152 Seminarraum
Einzeltermin | Mo, 01.07.2024, 10:15 - Mo, 01.07.2024, 13:45 | C 40.152 Seminarraum

Inhalt: Most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, the spread of various types of conspiracy theories and disinformation via social media accelerated, thus triggering polarization processes (Bennett & Livingston, 2020), leading to situations in which debates become clustered into opposite poles. The deterioration of spaces for open exchange threatens social groups on different scales – be they teams, small organizations, larger corporations, or even democratic society as a whole – in their likelihood to exchange views and opinions, thereby fostering constructive conversation and building trust. A significant organizational phenomenon in that context is the rise of so-called 'conspiracy entrepreneurs' (Birchall 2021). Conspiracy entrepreneurs are not only influential opinion leaders and makers, but they keep finding ways to profit from societal polarization and the accompanying decreased trust in democracy – they become multipliers for disinformation and conspiracy theories to thrive, with significant consequences. Examples of conspiracy entrepreneurs such as Alex Jones in the US or Ken Jebsen in Germany have shown that these actors and their content not only find an audience but also a market. Conspiracy entrepreneurs sell counter-cultural claims that are deeply connected with their self-branding and are often offered alongside actual products. They sell solutions to problems that cannot be grasped and answers to questions that cannot be answered, oftentimes, putting themselves at the center of attention by making polarizing claims. In this seminar, we will explore the emerging phenomenon of 'conspiracy entrepreneurship' by, on the one hand, looking at the existing (and related) literature, and, on the other hand, by taking a closer look at examples that we may encounter online and in public discourses.