Mysteries, Conspiracies, and Inquiries: Reflections on the Power of Superstition, Suspicion, and Scrutiny
Copyright (c) 2021 Simon Susen
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
The main purpose of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of Luc Boltanski’s account of the multifaceted relationship between mysteries, conspiracies, and inquiries in modern societies. It is striking that, although this important aspect of Boltanski’s oeuvre has been commented on by several scholars, his principal contributions to this area of investigation have been largely overlooked and received hardly any serious attention by researchers in the humanities and social sciences. This paper is an attempt to fill this noticeable gap in the literature. Thus, rather than covering the entire breadth and depth of Boltanski’s writings, the paper will focus on the valuable insights his work offers into the relationship between mysteries, conspiracies, and inquiries. To this end, the analysis is divided into two parts. The first part comprises an overview of Boltanski’s central theoretical contributions to our understanding of mysteries, conspiracies, and inquiries. The second part offers some critical reflections on important issues arising from Boltanski’s examination of the relationship between mysteries, conspiracies, and inquiries – especially with regard to its limitations and shortcomings.