Selling (Con)spirituality and COVID-19 in Australia
Convictions, Complexity and Countering Dis/misinformation
Keywords:conspirituality, COVID, disinformation, misinformation, Australia, spirituality, pandemic
Conspirituality—the merger of conspiracy theories and spirituality—has attracted significant global media and scholarly attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article expands upon the ‘two core’ conspiritual convictions proposed by Ward and Voas that ‘1) a secret group covertly controls, or is trying to control, the political and social order, and 2) humanity is undergoing a “paradigm shift” in consciousness’. We identify an additional ten key convictions central to (con)spirituality, including those that result in vaccine hesitancy and/or refusal. We chose to bracket the ‘con’ to problematize the term, and to encompass a wider spectrum of spiritual beliefs and practices, including those that are non-controversial, those that may be deceptive cons, and/or those that draw on conspiracy theories. The article presents an analysis of these twelve (con)spiritual convictions, focusing on a sample of ‘Aussie Warriors’ selling (con)spirituality, and also on influencers attempting to counter the spread of dis/misinformation within wellness circles. In so doing, the article provides a more nuanced understanding of (con) spirituality and vaccine hesitancy, and a greater knowledge of the benefits and risks of spiritual practices and ideas during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
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