Conspiracy Theory as Political Imaginary: Blackwater in Pakistan

Humeira Iqtidar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


How may one theorise conspiracy theories? The last decade has seen a mushrooming of academic interest in conspiracy theories, perhaps in response to the increased role of conspiratorial thinking in politics in the same period. Using a case study of a private security firm, Blackwater, in Pakistan, this article suggests that while most conspiracy theories may be too linear and hyper-logical to allow for historical contingency and the messy reality of political struggles, it is possible to conceive of some of them as a kind of political imaginary that places national politics within a transnational context in an age where a surfeit of information is matched only by a paucity of relevant information. While the academic literature over the last decade has tended to take the form of conspiracy theories as an important clue to their function in contemporary politics, this article argues for taking the content of conspiracy theories seriously as well. At the same time, it suggests the value of delineating more sharply the concept of 'political imagination'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-215
Issue number1
Early online date19 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Blackwater
  • Conspiracy theories
  • Pakistan
  • Political imagination
  • Private security firms


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