Philip Conway is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Durham University. His research investigates concepts and practices of critique, relating these to issues of political theory.

Repressive suspicion

On Thursday, July 14th at 12 am (CET), we hosted the CAS SEE Seminar with Philip R. Conway, presented by our Fellow Paul Blamire.

In this paper, I undertake a close reading of an FBI interview conducted with one of the most recognisable figures among the crowd that broke into the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on 6th January 2021. The interviewee, Doug Jensen, is a devotee of the QAnon conspiracy theory. In the interview, he describes how his obsessive relationship to the QAnon cult developed, and divulges his reasons for participating in the attempted insurrection that day—reasons that include a great deal of personal trauma. From this reading, I develop a concept that I call ‘repressive suspicion’—this being a mode of suspicion that promises to liberate via the production of radical, righteous doubt regarding official reality, but, in practice, only reinforces relations of domination, while destroying the existing social bonds of those who submit to it. This then allows me to draw conclusions about the problem of conspiratorial ideation more generally.

UNIRI The Moise Palace: Cres Island

An education center of the University of Rijeka. A five-hundred-year-old patrician townhouse and the largest Renaissance palace on the Croatian islands. A venue and forum for various scientific and research activities, it welcomes visiting academics, students and scholars.