Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Bread and Plots: Conspiracy Theories and the Rhetorical Style of Political Influencer Communities on YouTube

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Abstract:  Based on the assumption that social media encourages a populist style of politics in online communities and the proposition that populism and conspiracy theories tend to co-occur, this article investigates whether this holds true for YouTube influencers, particularly on the less investigated left-wing spectrum. The article provides qualitative case studies of four different groups of political content creators on YouTube whose content makes use of or analyzes popular culture. The article concludes that a populist style plays a far less central role in left-wing communities on YouTube than on other platforms or within right-wing communities.

Keywords:  BreadTube; conspiracy theories; popular culture; populism; social media; YouTube



© Christina Wurst. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.