In our German listserv on Open Space, there is currently an angry discussion on conspiracy theory and chain emails going on. This was started because one member of the group posted a typical conspiracy letter and asked the rest of the group to forward it. Many people (initially including myself) reacted strongly to this misappropriation.
However, I had a second thought. Wouldn't it be interesting to analyze conspiracy theory from a systemic viewpoint? If, as Appreciative Inquiry and other solution focused methods suggest, all change starts in the heads of people, and organizations are as good as the perception people have of them - then, conspiracy theory must be the flip side of the coin. The more people believe in such a theory, the more it will become reality. Paul Watzlawick has written about that long ago, when he reported about a perceived increased incidence of scratches in windscreens of cars in Seattle, which was attributed to either a Russian atomic fallout or a new chemical used to pave the highways in the State of Washington. When the US Government sent an investigation team, they found out that there was no increased incidence of scratches in windscreenes of cars.
I will post more about this topic in the weeks to come. So far, I have to share two great websites with you.
The first is, like always, Wikipedia, with a lot of good articles. I like the list of alleged conspiracy theories a lot.
The other one, you must visit (!) is a site where you can create your own conspiracy theory. Just enter a few key words, press the Conspiracy button, and you have great fun.