Ergoic framing in New Right online groups
Q, the MAGA kid, and the Deep State theory
Conspiracy theories are often disqualified as inadequate and deliberate forms of misinformation. In this analysis, we engage with a specific case, the conspiracy theory developed on an online New Right forum called Q about the so-called “MAGA Kid incident” with focus on its circulation and uptake on Facebook. Drawing on ethnomethodological principles, the analysis shows how ergoic argumentation is systematically being deployed as a means of debunking rational-factual discourses about such incidents. While rationality itself is being rejected, conspiracy theorists deploy “reasonable” knowledge tactics. The paper shows how conspiracy theorists skillfully mobilize social media affordances, particularly Internet memes, to promote conspiracism as a form of inclusive political activism as well as a legitimate and “critical” mode of reasoning.
Keywords: New Right, MAGA kid, Deep State, Internet memes, conspiracy theories, online groups
Published online: 05 June 2020
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