Welcome

The  ISFNR Belief Narrative Network Online Lectures deal with folk beliefs of all kinds, and the narratives that are used to pass them on. The idea is that in the first week of each month, various international scholars present pre-recorded lectures on the subject of their choice which will later go on to be freely available on the ISFNR web site to anyone who wishes to make use of them as part of their research or in their teaching. The initial on-line showing is  nonetheless always followed by a half an hour live on-line zoom meeting in which those who attend will be able to ask the speaker questions. 

The lectures take place on the first Friday of each month at 17.00 Central European time, except during the summer months of July and August. 

Next lecture

Kristina Radomirović Maček

Apocalyptic visions in contemporary conspiracy theories on Covid-19

February 03, 2023. at 5 p.m. CET

Speaker's Biography:

Kristina Radomirović Maček is a Ph.D. student at the Faculty of Arts University of Ljubljana. Her doctoral dissertation, “Contemporary End of the World Narratives and Notions in the Area of Former Yugoslavia”, introduces a case study of Covid-19 conspiracy theories in the digital ecosystems of a post-socialist context.
Her main research focus relies on the anthropology of religion and folkloristics. She aims to use interdisciplinary approaches and is especially interested in digital ethnography, the theory of liminality, and contemporary folklore in the digital environment. She has published several articles on conspiracy theories (Studia Mithologica Slavica 2021, Etnolog 2022), apocalyptical myth as part of the modern nationalistic discourse (Ethnological Debates 2020), and end-of-the-world narratives in tradition in XIX and XX century folklore (Liceum 2019). She was one of the speakers at the first conference of the Center for Apocalyptic and Post-apocalyptic Studies in Heidelberg.
During the Covid-19 crisis, she actively participated in public debates about conspiracy theories and cooperated with the major Slovenian media houses to emphasize the significance of conspiracy theories in contemporary social life.

Abstract:

The imagination of the end world is grounded on social fears and relies on complex belief systems. Because of their megalomaniac narrative pretensions conspiracy theories are the hotbeds of apocalyptic visions. The perceptions of the upcoming catastrophe can be considered the basis of conspiratorial storytelling, as this talk argues. Predicting becomes revealing as the upcoming catastrophe is interpreted as a sign of a distorted present. Therefore, apocalyptic visions in conspiracy theories are not future phenomena but symbols and hyperboles of our present times. The dystopia of social control is an exaggerated manifestation of fears of being followed and owned in the profit-oriented times of consumerism and contemporary capitalism. After a short overview on the conspiracy theories as the apocalyptic fear generating belief narratives, I will move forward to four visions of the apocalypse that emerged from ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Slovenian social media and among online communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.