Study day on conspiratorial discourses, organized in collaboration with the SoDRUS, on Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Time: 9am 

Location: Room L1-11305, Longueuil Campus of the Université de Sherbrooke

Conspiracism seems to be a phenomenon of social and communication epidemiology. By analogy indeed, there is diffusion by progressive circles, using not the circulation of air and their equivalents, but the media, notably social, without forgetting of course personal interactions, the dynamics having been changed by the physical pandemic these last years. These discourses constitute and gather individuals in a kind of bubble cut off from the collective social life, sub-groups in rupture with the shared social space. In this respect the rupture is more or less important according to the cases. Alienation of some, powers of some and counter-powers of others come to compete for the space of living together. A theorization must for this purpose return to the points of demarcation between valid analyses and discourses devoid of arguable bases on possible conspiracies, with the strategic problems that this poses in the interaction.

The symbolic productions of these groups are disseminated in the mass media, but also a lot on social networks, which is undoubtedly a new feature of old phenomena – just remember Maurice Druon, the Protocol of the Wise Men of Zion, etc. In some cases, the discourses are presented as alternative knowledge, supplementing the usual treatments in public health; some people call them “conspiracy theories”. They then offer counter-expertise that may be problematic because it lacks any factual or arguable support. In other cases, political impulses accompany these counter-powers of diffusion, but including broader ambitions, in a context that sometimes completely challenges the usual deliberative and democratic framework, which has a violent potential and represents a public security issue.

In the framework of a study day organized by the UNESCO Chair in the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Extremism (UNESCO-PREV) and the Centre de recherche Société, droit et religion de l’Université de Sherbrooke (SoDRUS), researchers and students are invited to present their work and reflections on three complementary research axes :

  1. The conspiracy discourse: epistemological, argumentative and rhetorical issues
  2. How to understand conspiracy in Quebec? Recent work of the Unesco-Prev Chair and the Cefir
  3. Case study on some recycling of religious figures, between QAnon and the new dualisms of radical evil and good

This study day is organized by Alain Létourneau, Sylvana Al Baba Douaihy and Sylvain Bédard.

The event will be held in person, so attendance is strongly encouraged. Upon request, a web link will be available for remote listening/viewing via Teams (send your request to: 

For more information, contact Professor Alain Létourneau: