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A Culture of ConspiracyApocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America$
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Michael Barkun

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238053

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238053.001.0001

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Millennialists from Outer Space

(p.170) Chapter 11 Conclusion
A Culture of Conspiracy

Michael Barkun

University of California Press

Millennialism and New World Order conspiracy theories have been closely intertwined. They seemed to provide a way of predicting the emergence of the Antichrist. Among the conspiracy-minded, millennialism has included a generalized belief in the end of history, attempts to fuse alien arrival with Christian millennialism, the addition of non-Western millenarian ideas, and even the belief that millennialism itself is part of the conspirators' plot. UFO writers have been able to link ideas about extraterrestrials with more traditional apocalyptic expectations. The millennium is incrementally achieved through a gradualism that makes apocalyptic disasters unnecessary. Bridging mechanisms are organizational devices that link the domain of stigmatized knowledge to accepted forms of political expression. Three bridging mechanisms of particular significance are: the cultivation of crossover audiences, the development of alternative communications systems, and the indivisibility of the stigmatized knowledge domain.

Keywords:   Millennialism, New World Order, Antichrist, bridging mechanisms, apocalyptic disasters

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