Subject and Keywords:
The purpose of this paper is to study the role of conspiracy theories in populism, particularly the way conspiracy theories amplify the xenophobic messaging of some populist leaders. Although conspiracy theories have only recently been associated with this political phenomenon, historically there have been cases of conspiracy theories having been successfully used as part of populist political strategy. Firstly, the causes of the co-occurrence of populism and conspiracy theories are studied. Secondly, the interaction between the two phenomena is shown to enhance populist messaging. Next, effectiveness of populist conspiracy theories is then placed in the context of human rights. Finally, the aforementioned mechanisms are illustrated via the example of the Lavender Scare.