Radek Chlup

Religious studies scholar, deputy director of the Institute of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Charles University. For a long time he was mainly concerned with ancient Greece, but he was also interested in how religious ideas, symbols, myths and rituals function in human culture in general. Later he began to notice that many of these religious beliefs and practices have their counterparts in the secular world. We too often think and act symbolically and mythically. This is especially evident in our ideas and stories about our own history, about Czech collective identity, or about current political events. These too frequently resemble ancient myths more than we admit. Today, therefore, it is these mythical and symbolic layers of contemporary culture and politics that Radek is most interested in.

Conspiracy narratives are precisely an example of such a contemporary form of mythical thinking. In fact, they are very close to traditional myths in that they are spread by unregulated collective transmission, thus representing a kind of contemporary folklore. If we look at them not as factual descriptions of the state of the world but as symbolic images expressing how people feel in the world, this will allow us to understand conspiracy narratives instead of just deriding their narators.

CV / personal webpages: https://ufar.ff.cuni.cz/en/department-2/staff/radek-chlup/