Van Prooijen, J.-W., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (Eds.) (2014). Power, politics, and paranoia: Why people are suspicious of their leaders. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 

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Brief abstract:

Powerful societal leaders—such as politicians and CEOs—are frequently approached with substantial distrust and suspiciousness by the public. Why are people so suspicious of their leaders? One possibility is that “power corrupts”, and that people are right to be suspicious. Indeed, there are examples abound of unethical leadership even at the highest level, as the Watergate scandal and the Enron CEOs illustrate. But another possibility is that people frequently are unjustifiably paranoid, as underscored by some of the rather far-fetched conspiracy beliefs that are endorsed by a surprisingly large portion of citizens. Are societal power holders more likely than the average citizen to display unethical behaviour? How do people generally think and feel about politicians? How do paranoia and conspiracy beliefs about societal power holders originate? In this book, prominent scholars address these intriguing questions, and illuminate the many facets of the relations between power, politics, and paranoia.   

Overview of Contents: 


Chapter 1 – Power, Politics, and Paranoia: An Introduction

Jan-Willem van Prooijen and Paul A. M. van Lange

Part 1 – Power

Chapter 2 – The Effects of Power on Immorality

Joris Lammers and Ilja van Beest

Chapter 3 – Do We Give Power to the Right People? When and How Norm Violators Rise to the Top

Eftychia Stamkou and Gerben van Kleef

Chapter 4 – The Leaders’ Rosy Halo: Why Do We Give Powerholders the Benefit of the Doubt?

Pamela K. Smith and Jennifer R. Overbeck

Chapter 5 – “Power Corrupts” Revisited: The Role of Construal of Power as Opportunity or Responsibility

Kai Sassenberg, Naomi Ellemers, Daan Scheepers, and Annika Scholl

Part 2 – Politics

Chapter 6 – Never Trust a Politician? Collective Distrust, Relational Accountability, and Voter Response

Susan T. Fiske and Federica Durante

Chapter 7 – Political Distrust: The Seed and Fruit of Popular Empowerment

Fouad Bou Zeineddine and Felicia Pratto

Chapter 8 – All Power to Our Great Leader: Political Leadership under Uncertainty

John J. Haller and Michael A. Hogg

Chapter 9 – Those Who Supported and Voted for Berlusconi. A Social-Psychological Profile of the Willing Followers of a Controversial Political Leader

Antonio Chirumbolo and Luigi Leone

Chapter 10 – A Growing Confidence Gap in Politics? Data versus Discourse

Rudy B. Andeweg

Part 3 – Paranoia

Chapter 11 – Misconnecting the Dots: Origins and Dynamics of Outgroup Paranoia

Roderick M. Kramer and Jennifer Schaffer

Chapter 12 – Political Paranoia and Conspiracy Theories

Viren Swami and Adrian Furnham

Chapter 13 – The Social Dimension of Belief in Conspiracy Theories

Jan-Willem van Prooijen and Paul A. M. van Lange

Chapter 14 – Examining the Monological Nature of Conspiracy Theories

Robbie M. Sutton and Karen M. Douglas

Chapter 15 – The Role of Paranoia in a Dual-Process Motivational Model of Conspiracy Belief

Marc Wilson, Ronald Fischer, and Chelsea Rose

Chapter 16 – Searching for the Root of all Evil: An Existential-Sociological Perspective

on Political Enemyship and Scapegoating

Daniel Sullivan, Mark J. Landau, Zachary K. Rothschild, and Lucas A. Keefer