Call for Papers for the special issue of Slovak Ethnology/ Slovenský národopis, volume 70, number 3/2022

Call for the special issue of Slovak Ethnology/Slovenský národopis, volume 72, number 3/2022, on the topic of Gossip, Rumours and Conspiracy Theories at the time of crisis. The guest editors of the issue are Elżbieta Drążkiewicz (Institute for Sociology of SAS) and Zuzana Panczová (Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology of SAS).
Since the beginning of the pandemic questions such as ‘what is really going on?’ ‘what is the truth?’, ‘what is hidden?’ ‘whose information can be trusted?’ seem to be at the centre of many conversations and public debates. At the time of crisis, gossip, rumour and conspiracy theories, offer an opportunity to fill the gaps in the knowledge and gain vital information to manage the emergency. When the illness hits a family, when violence, insecurity and conflict enter communities, when planes crash, when natural or man-made disasters take place, when a pandemic hits the world, these speculative and investigative communicative strategies might offer a chance to make sense of the crisis, to explain why bad things happen.
For those who do not have access or control over information, gossiping or speculating allows people to create their own narrative about the systems which otherwise marginalise or disenfranchise them. It also offers a chance to contest officially sanctioned knowledge. Conspiracy theories are frequently used as a form of social and political critique. They not only ‘reveal the truth’ but also criticise the ways in which a particular crisis is handled, the social order that ‘allowed it’, and the ‘evil groups’ that supposedly intentionally orchestrated it for their own gains. Questioning the status quo conspiracy theories obviously provoke strong reactions. They are muddying scientific waters, and when they merge with extremist and populist movements they can generate conflicts, spread racism and prejudice.
Today, in the post-truth and the midst-pandemic world it is increasingly clear that conflicts over truth have become central not only to those people who spread gossip and endorse conspiracy theories, but also to those who fear of their societal consequences and push back against the ‘post-truth’ era. For those reasons, seven years after first special issue dedicated to conspiracy theories ‘Slovak Ethnology’ returns to the topic and invites contribution that concern papers analysing the role of gossip, rumours and conspiracy theories in dealing with the crisis.
We are particularly (but not exclusively) interested in papers that address the following themes:
- the social life of conspiracy theories, rumours and gossip at the time of crisis;
- conspiracy theories, gossip and/or rumour as a social and political weapon;
- regimes of truth vis-à-vis contested truths;
- conspiracy theories and popular culture;
- conspiracy theories as play;
- the cognitive worlds of conspiracy theories;
- conspiracy theories and religion (apocalyptic visions, occult features);
- social consequences of spreading rumours and conspiracy theories;
- the role of media (both traditional and digital) in spreading rumours and conspiracy theories;

We welcome papers that cover all regions. We are particularly interested in anthropological, ethnological and folklorist studies, but are also interested in political, sociological, historical and cultural studies approaches.

Authors are kindly requested to submit their abstracts (300-500 words) and keywords directly through the editorial system of Slovenský národopis/Slovak Ethnology (CLICK HERE) no later than July 31, 2021.
The selected manuscripts are expected no later than December 31, 2021. The text should not exceed 6,250 words or 45,000 characters, including spaces, notes and references, and should follow the Journal´s guidelines for authors accessible HERE.

If you have any question you can contact the guest editor Ela Drążkiewicz: ela.drazkiewicz@savba.sk

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