Conspiracy Theories about Secret Religions: Imagining the Other

Robertson, David G. (2022). Conspiracy Theories about Secret Religions: Imagining the Other. In: Urban, Hugh B. and Johnson, Paul Christopher eds. The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Secrecy. Routledge Handbooks in Religion. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 380–390.



This chapter will consider how ideas about conspiracies, secrecy and malevolent religions mutually support and construct each other in public panics, from the witch trials, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Satanic Ritual Abuse, the Dönmes to Pizzagate. In each case, the imagination of a secret religion—or of a secret movement within a religion—is coeval with the construction of a malevolent Other. This suggests a complex relationship in the social imagination between religion, race, conspiracy and disgust, which this chapter will explore through the lens of Mary Douglas’ theories of purity, disgust and social boundaries.

Viewing alternatives


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions
No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions