Front. Psychol., 08 February 2023
Sec. Personality and Social Psychology
Volume 14 – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1075779
Background: The number of psychological studies on conspiracy beliefs has been systematically growing for about a dozen years, but in recent years, the trend has intensified. We provided a review covering the psychological literature on conspiracy beliefs from 2018 to 2021. Halfway through this period, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, accompanied by an explosion of movements based on conspiracy theories, intensifying researchers’ interest in this issue.
Methods: Adhering to PRISMA guidelines, the review systematically searched for relevant journal articles published between 2018 and 2021. A search was done on Scopus and Web of Science (only peer-reviewed journals). A study was included if it contained primary empirical data, if specific or general conspiracy belief(s) were measured and if its correlation with at least one other psychological variable was reported. All the studies were grouped for the descriptive analysis according to the methodology used, the participants’ characteristics, the continent of origin, the sample size, and the conspiracy beliefs measurement tools. Due to substantial methodological heterogeneity of the studies, narrative synthesis was performed. The five researchers were assigned specific roles at each stage of the analysis to ensure the highest quality of the research.
Results: Following the proposed methodology, 308 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility and 274 articles (417 studies) meeting the inclusion criteria were identified and included in the review. Almost half of the studies (49.6%) were conducted in European countries. The vast majority of the studies (85.7%) were carried out on samples of adult respondents. The research presents antecedents as well as (potential) consequences of conspiracy beliefs. We grouped the antecedents of conspiracy beliefs into six categories: cognitive (e.g., thinking style) motivational (e.g., uncertainty avoidance), personality (e.g., collective narcissism), psychopathology (e.g., Dark Triad traits), political (e.g., ideological orientation), and sociocultural factors (e.g., collectivism).
Conclusion and limitations: The research presents evidence on the links between conspiracy beliefs and a range of attitudes and behaviors considered unfavorable from the point of view of individuals and of the society at large. It turned out that different constructs of conspiracy thinking interact with each other. The limitations of the study are discussed in the last part of the article.
Entropy, 20 December 2022
Volume 25(1) – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1075779
We evaluated the transport properties of a bacterial cellulose (BC) membrane for aqueous ethanol solutions. Using the Rr version of the Kedem–Katchalsky–Peusner formalism (KKP) for the concentration polarization (CP) conditions of solutions, the osmotic and diffusion fluxes as well as the membrane transport parameters were determined, such as the hydraulic permeability (Lp), reflection (σ), and solute permeability (ω). We used these parameters and the Peusner (Rijr) coefficients resulting from the KKP equations to assess the transport properties of the membrane based on the calculated dependence of the concentration coefficients: the resistance, coupling, and energy conversion efficiency for aqueous ethanol solutions. The transport properties of the membrane depended on the hydrodynamic conditions of the osmotic diffusion transport. The resistance coefficients R11r, R22r, and Rdetr were positive and higher, and the R12r coefficient was negative and lower under CP conditions (higher in convective than nonconvective states). The energy conversion was evaluated and fluxes were calculated for the U-, F-, and S-energy. It was found that the energy conversion was greater and the S-energy and F-energy were lower under CP conditions. The convection effect was negative, which means that convection movements were directed vertically upwards. Understanding the membrane transport properties and mechanisms could help to develop and improve the membrane technologies and techniques used in medicine and in water and wastewater treatment processes.
European Journal of Science and Theology
Volume 19(3) – 2023 |
We consider QAnon to be a kind of modern and expansive Q-fundamentalism. It has easily overcome the barrier of the virtual world, and – driven by the dissatisfaction with the results of the U.S. presidential election in 2020 – managed to storm the Capitol on 6 January 2021. The multi-threaded QAnon narrative, containing religious, social and political demands, has been fuelled by the covid-19 pandemic crisis and disseminated mainly via social media. QAnon’s potential to be a fundamentalist group stems in particular from its radicalistic postulates, growing popularity, the internationalisation of its postulates and the rapid pace of radicalisation of its supporters. QAnon is a group whose objective consists in a broadly understood transformation of religious and political factors, ideologisation, energisation, as well as addition of conspiracy to its character. The version of fundamentalism presented by QAnon displays the traits of anti-Enlightenment, anti-liberalism, moral rigourism, rejection of modernity if favour of tradition. Its characteristics also include militarism, praise of war, fascination with the warrior ethos and building an empire, but in accordance with the rules of ethics and tradition in the hierarchical society. QAnon’s recruits or precursors of a new model of Q-fundamentalists are the warriors of QAnon, who has a huge number of followers all over the world.
Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, 2 April 2023
Volume 22(65) – 2023 |
This article aims to validate the research thesis concerning the enduring nature, relevance, and universality of Józef Tischner’s concept of solidarity. Tischner himself defined it as a form of “brotherhood for the stricken”, and this article aims to demonstrate its global significance, despite its origins in Poland during the specific socio-political circumstances of the real socialist era. The first research goal is to analyse the figure of Józef Tischner and his activities during the emergence of the unprecedented ISGTU “Solidarity” movement in Poland. Another goal is to show the most significant elements of the philosophy of solidarity he created, understood as the solidarity of consciences, the solidarity of hope and the brotherhood for the stricken. The last goal is to indicate the global context of Tischner’s philosophy of solidarity concerning challenges and threats such as: the refugee and migrant crisis, the vision of the European Union’s future as a community, the COVID-19 pandemic, and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The authors of this article employed various research methods and techniques, including historical analysis, source examination, content analysis, and secondary analysis of relevant literature, to attain their stated objectives.
Journal of Human Security
Volume 19(1) – 2023 | DOI:10.12924/johs2023.19010008
The precariat is a new social category that exists in all countries around the world and consists of people who work in the gig economy and/or are employed under civil law contracts. One of the key factors that determines membership of the precariat is the uncertainty felt by individuals in the labour market as a result of, inter alia, being employed on flexible forms. The research aim of this article is to define the specificity of the Polish precariat and their sense of social security in the context of the current employment support and social policy of the Polish government. The utilitarian goal is to evaluate the “Polish Deal” programme currently proposed by the Polish government in terms of its strengths and weaknesses in order to reduce the precariat phenomenon and boost the Polish precariat’s sense of social security. The article also attempts to demonstrate the effects of actions taken by the Polish government since 2015, which were aimed at improving the situation on the precariat labour market. In order to determine the extent to which the current government in Poland affects the social security of the precariat and satisfies their needs by taking social welfare action and implementing indirect operations related to education, a questionnaire was used, conducted via the Internet, involving a survey panel of respondents. In this study, a stratified-quota sample selection was used, corresponding to the proportions of people working on the basis of various flexible forms of fixed-term employment and self-employment. One thousand respondents employed on flexible terms participated in the study. The study was carried out at the turn of March/April 2021.
Journal of Contemporary Religion, 11 October 2023
Online First – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1080/13537903.2023.2260165
The aim of the current study was to investigate the relationships between personal religiosity, trust, and the acceptance of restrictions which could be imposed on individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to overcome the crisis. The study was carried out in Poland, a country with one of the highest declared levels of religiosity in Europe. Interpersonal and institutional trust were measured. The acceptance of the pandemic restrictions was positively related to personal religiosity and institutional trust (trust in the Church, trust in the Government, and trust in the health authorities). However, there was no association between the acceptance of the restrictions and interpersonal trust. Trust in the Church turned out to mediate the relationship between religiosity and the acceptance of most restrictions associated with the pandemic. The results of the study are discussed in the context of other studies on the relationship between religiosity and health behavior.
East European Politics and Societies
Volume 37(2) – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1177/08883254211070853
There are only two European Union (EU) states where hard coal is still mined: Poland and the Czech Republic. One of the key interest groups in the hard coal mining industry are trade unions. They are particularly strong in this sector, almost entirely controlled by the state, in Poland—without their approval, it is in fact impossible to implement any significant reforms. The main goal of the article is to explain the influence of trade unions operating in the hard coal mining sector in Poland and the Czech Republic on the results of the reforms of this sector carried out in 2015–2019. The framework for empirical analysis is the theoretical output on interest groups and the power resources approach. Measuring the influence of an interest group on the decision-making process is one of the greatest challenges in research on interest groups. However, the empirical analysis allows us to conclude that the purposes of mining trade unions both in Poland and in the Czech Republic were consistent, that the shape of the reforms introduced in 2015–2019 was convergent with these goals, and that the activity of trade unions had a very big impact on these reforms. However, in the long run, hard coal mining in Europe is in decline and trade unions are only trying to stop what is inevitable.
Soviet and Post Soviet Review, 15 May 2023
Volume 50(3) – 2023 | https://dx.doi.org/10.30965/18763324-bja10082
February 24, 2022, after several months of preparation, Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. For the EU and NATO states, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine means, inter alia, a major change for their security. But Russia’s war against Ukraine has been going on since 2014. In reaction, the EU, the US, and other Western states imposed economic sanctions on Russia in 2014. The subject of research is primarily comprehensive (general) sanctions. Another type of economic sanctions—targeted (smart) sanctions—are relatively new, so there is also relatively little research devoted to them. The main purpose of the article is to investigate the impact of smart (targeted) sanctions on five banks: Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), Rosselkhozbank, and three oil com- panies: Rosneft, Transneft and Gazpromneft. The study has been conducted on the basis of the analysis of the basic indicators illustrating the financial situation and changes in the prices of shares listed on the Moscow Exchange. The main finding is that the effects of sanctions are relatively weak and limited in time; in 2015–2017, a deterioration in the financial situation of only some of the eight corporations surveyed was noticeable, but later their situation improved significantly and in 2018–2019 it was clearly better than before the sanctions were imposed.
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 21 September 2023
Online First – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2023.2259195
This paper is based on an experiment-based study carried out in the first half of 2023, which aimed to understand how terrorist organizations can potentially exploit artificial intelligence. It discusses the risks of using AI to produce and disseminate propaganda, as well as verifies whether it can be used to facilitate access to terrorist content. It also explores if AI-based platforms can be used to access terrorism-related know-how. This paper also focuses on understanding the specificity of content moderation procedures introduced by these services to mitigate their use by violent extremists and provides recommendations for increasing their efficiency.
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 29 September 2023
Volume 15 – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1080/19434472.2021.1977372
The primary objective of this paper is to map the online presence of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s (HTS) media branch – Ebaa News Agency (ENA) – on the surface web. It also measures three years of propaganda output of the group and its viewership, as well as outlines the thematic landscape of its productions based on the content analysis of a sample. It argues that Ebaa’s messaging pattern constitutes a peculiar mixture of opposing priorities. It paid a great deal of attention to portraying itself as an independent news agency that has nothing to do with violent terrorist organizations (VEOs). In effect, its productions are easily available on the surface web. A closer look, however, proves that since 2017 ENA has been dedicated to supporting HTS’s radical Islamist agenda. This paper provides evidence of this. Moreover, Ebaa adopted a two-vector distribution strategy of its productions, composed of standalone websites and Telegram channels. In this context, the output of this media cell appears to be quite impressive. Between 2017 and 2020, it was capable of releasing more than 13,000 pieces of propaganda on its websites. At the same time, however, their viewership was lower than initially expected.
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 9 January 2023
Online First – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1080/19434472.2022.2164326
This paper maps communication channels exploited by the Salafi-jihadist violent extremist organisations (VEOs) and their followers between March 2020 and June 2022 on The Onion Router (TOR). It argues that the true scale of digital jihadist presence on TOR has remained insignificant for years. Militant Islamists have mostly used .onion domains as backup propaganda dissemination channels, which enable content takedown policies introduced by countering violent extremism stakeholders to be circumvented. Aside from propaganda distribution, TOR attracts Salafi-jihadist VEOs and their followers for other reasons, as it facilitates anonymous communication, crowdfunding, sharing of terrorist manuals or the organisation of terrorist attacks.
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 21 April 2021
Volume 46 – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2021.1914361
This article aims to map the online propaganda presence and activities of the Turkestan Islamic Party’s media arm—Islam Awazi (“Voice of Islam”). It also discusses its capabilities in terms of producing new releases and attracting online audiences. In order to reach these objectives, this study exploited a methodology which is a combination of open source intelligence techniques (OSINT) with limited content analysis. It argues that the Uyghur-oriented Islam Awazi’s (IA) propaganda strategy was primarily based on one standalone website, which constituted a central repository of its new productions. It was supported by several Telegram channels. However, open source intelligence investigation allowed other domains proliferating the IA’s productions, which were still accessible but abandoned at the time when this study was carried out, to be discovered. It also proved that the organization was capable of producing more than 160 propaganda releases between January and September 2020. Their viewership on the surface web was, however, quite limited. Finally, this study also outlines a peculiar connection between Islam Awazi’s websites and two networks of domains exploited by the cyber-criminal underground to distribute pornography and malware. This may be considered as a sign of an existing—and widely discussed by the academia—terror-crime nexus.
Media, War & Conflict, 5 April 2023
Online First – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1177/17506352231166322
This article explores key ethical and security challenges related to exploitation of open-source intelligence (OSINT) in research on online terrorist propaganda. In order to reach this objective, the most common approaches to OSINT-based projects are analysed through the lens of some of the most recognized ethical guidelines in science, which allowed several core dilemmas to be identified. First of all, this study discusses how personal data protection rules are applicable to investigations of potentially dangerous subjects, such as members and followers of Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs). In addition, the author examines potential threats to the safety of researchers and the scientific infrastructure used in OSINT-based projects. He also discusses the risks of incidental findings and malevolent use of research results. Finally, drawing from existing legal regulations and good practices in other fields, as well as the author’s previous experience in OSINT-based analyses of online terrorist activities, this article explores basic means of tackling these dilemmas.
Terrorism and Political Violence, 17 March 2022
Volume 35(6) – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1080/09546553.2022.2038575
This article discusses the reasons why content moderation and control in cyberspace, being a primary means of online countering violent extremism (CVE), does not work as intended. It makes four main arguments. Firstly, despite years of efforts from CVE stakeholders, the propaganda of militant Islamist VEOs is still easily accessible on the Internet. This study has mapped hundreds of addresses engaged in digital jihadist activities at the turn of 2020–2021. It effectively proves that the current approach to online CVE brought few tangible effects. Secondly, these programs have been unevenly applied to militant Islamist organizations. There have been groups which represent violent extremist ideology but are not actively combated by stakeholders. As a result, these groups have been able to establish a solid foothold on the surface web. Thirdly, the efficiency of CVE strategies based on content takedowns are decreased by the relative ease of terrorists reestablishing banned communication channels, the availability of vast alternatives for online propaganda dissemination, the introduction of impractical legislation by governments, overlapping jurisdictions on the Internet and the “Streisand effect.” Finally, adequate strategies aimed at curbing digital jihad should be primarily based on offline and online activities which fall outside of the remit of CVE.
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations, 28 July 2023
Online First – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.12688/stomiedintrelat.17623.3
Background: The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has been instrumentalised on several occasions by powers that have seen a new sphere for realising their interests. One such power is the Russian Federation. The article aims to explain the importance of close relations with Venezuela for Russia’s strategic objectives in expanding its political power in the Latin American region in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. To achieve the research objective, the authors focused on answering the following research questions: How has the political crisis in Venezuela affected the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic? Why and how does Russia consistently support the regime of Nicolás Maduro in times of a pandemic crisis? The article’s research hypothesis is that Russia used the new conditions of superpower policy, the COVID-19 pandemic, to strengthen its influence on Venezuela’s domestic politics to secure the realisation of its superpower interests.
Methods: The authors used content analysis of media broadcasts, statements by politicians, and literature on the subject (in English, Russian and Spanish). In addition, the re-analysis of quantitative data made it possible, for example, to characterise the economic level of the relations. The main part of the research was completed in November 2021. The article uses methods characteristic of international relations research, including the method of decision analysis.
Results: The results of the research confirm that Moscow’s activity in Latin America should be interpreted as one of the manifestations of the reactivity of Russian geostrategy, i.e. a response to U.S. actions in the post-Soviet area.
Conclusions: In this context, Caracas has a special position in Russia’s policy as a key regional partner in energy cooperation and a market for the sale of military technologies. The research was conducted on 13 March 2020 and ended before 24 February 2022.
Nationalities Papers, 4 July 2022
Special Issue on Peripheral Elites in West European Central States’ Apparatus
Volume 51(5) – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1017/nps.2022.26
The aim of the article is to analyze Armenia’s limited capacity to function as a patron of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). In the article, the author focused on the analysis of 3 levels of relations on the line Yerevan-Stepanakert: (1) the political dimension of bilateral relations; (2) the economic dimension of bilateral relations; (3) the security policy dimension, in particular the significance of the last phase of the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (2020) for the further shape of relations. In addition, the features that distinguish Armenia’s relations with the NKR from Russia’s relations with the de facto states for which it is a patron are highlighted. The results prove that mid-level states have a limited capacity to be a patron for de facto states, including being a guarantor of their survival.
International Journal of Minority and Group Rights, 8 September 2022
Volume 30(2) – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1017/nps.2022.26
Three decades ago, political science and legal studies took almost no interest in a small region in Central Europe called Upper Silesia. Today, the scholarly literature in many disciplines is growing due, among other things, to the references to the situation of Silesians made by the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in the Fourth Opinion on Poland. However, most of those studies do not include analysis of the most important political context: ethnopolitics in the Republic of Poland, its past and present. In this paper, we aim to explore the dynamic relations between Poles and Silesians and the consequences of those relations on public law. We also analyse the rise of the ethnoregionalist movement in Upper Silesia. Then, we analyse ethnopolitics in Poland in relation to Upper Silesia, especially in the context of Polish national identity.
Nationalities Papers, 16 August 2023
Online First – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1017/nps.2023.52
This article analyzes the trauma of war present in the collective memory of the inhabitants of the village of Bojszowy. It may transform into a cultural trauma that significantly determines the community’s identity. Combining four strands of literature—memory studies, nationalist studies, historical studies, and psychological studies—the authors argue that in the community under study, the trauma connected with Upper Silesians’ service in the Wehrmacht during World War II constitutes such a collective cultural trauma. Based on the study of the collective memory of the Silesian community and interviews with the Silesian intellectual elite, the article analyzes in detail how the memory of these events has changed the identity of the Upper Silesian community in recent years. This does not mean that we underestimate the importance of the other elements that make up the Upper Silesian tragedy. A combination of local circumstances meant that the service of Silesians in the Wehrmacht was crucial to the occurrence of cultural trauma (in J. Alexander’s terms).
East European Politics and Societies, 25 February 2022
Volume 37(2) – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1177/0888325422108530
This article analyzes how the 2020 Polish Presidential election was affected by the recent COVID-19 pandemic in the context of global democratic backsliding. Specifically, this article examines how the incumbency advantage of President Andrzej Duda was bolstered during the pandemic by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS). Although PiS was unable to carry out every planned electoral manipulation, the party nonetheless helped Duda secure a second term in office in a historically close election. On the one hand, this article illustrates that while many of the tactics undertaken by PiS were within the limits of the letter of the law, its actions still undermined the spirit of Polish democracy. On the other hand, this article also contributes to the literature on democratic backsliding by underscoring the fact that the election in Poland was free and fair, which makes this regime qualitatively different from other cases in the region.
Endeavour, September 2023
Volume 47(3) – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1016/j.endeavour.2023.100874
The past two decades have seen an increase in the use of theories, data, assumptions and methods of the biological sciences in studying political phenomena. One of the approaches that combine biology with political science is genopolitics. The goal of the study was to analyse the basic ontological, methodological and epistemological assumptions for the reductionism of genopolitics. The results show that genopolitics assumes methodological reductionism but rejects ontological and epistemological reductionism. The key consequences of the findings are the irreducibility of political science to biology and the complementarity of genopolitical explanations and political science explanations based on culturalism. If my findings prove to be correct, they give rise to the formation of a hypothesis regarding the anti-reductionist orientation of the contemporary links between political science and biology. An important step towards confirming or falsifying such a hypothesis will be exploring the reductionism of contemporary biopolitical approaches such as neuropolitics or evolutionary political psychology.
Political Studies Review, 26 October 2021
Volume 21(1) – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.1177/14789299211053780
In the article, we review key methodological issues and study results on the heritability of political attitudes. These studies show to what degree the variance of observed attitudes can be explained by genetic variance. We have analysed studies differing in terms of applied methods, techniques and research tools, as well as sample populations of different age and sex structures. Regardless of these differences, the studies show that political attitudes are most likely influenced to some extent by genetic factors. This research suggests that the influence of genes on attitudes is subject to change over the life cycle. It also provides knowledge regarding the mechanisms that may link genes and attitudes. The studies conducted to date offer the opportunity to broaden the culturalism-based explanations of political attitudes with biological aspects; however, they also point to several issues that will require additional attention from the researchers.