Abstract: This contribution starts from the contemporary surge in conspiracism to develop a theoretical framework to understand how conspiracy theories make it from the margins to the mainstream. To this end, it combines a view of conspiracy theories as ideology and its propagandists as ideological entrepreneurs with insights into how the affordances of digital media and popular culture are instrumental in propagating the conspiracy theories. It further complements sociological and psychological explanations with a fandom perspective to grasp the diversity of conspiracy audiences. Together, it is argued, these factors allow ideological entrepreneurs to push conspiracy theories from the margins to the mainstream. Alex Jones and QAnon are discussed as cases in point.
Keywords: Alex Jones; alternative media; conspiracy theories; digital popular culture; ideological entrepreneurs; popular culture; QAnon