“QAnon” conspiracy group stickers appear in the common stairwell, links are shared in the WhatsApp family chat that connect 5G mobile networks to the Covid pandemic, a friend in your circle of acquaintances, who has often spoken out against vaccinations, is urging other to participate in demonstrations against the government’s measures to contain the pandemic: Since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, more and more people have contacted the MBR fearing that their neighbours, family members or friends are turning into conspiracy ideologists.
For example, the MBR was contacted by one person, whose mother was more and more frequently making conspiracy-ideological comments about Covid measures in a joint chat group and sharing links to YouTube videos with related content. The daughter was unsure about how to react and was afraid of losing her personal connection to her mother in the course of an argument – especially since another family member had already broken off contact with the mother. Added to this was the daughter’s concern that her mother might develop an increasingly close-minded worldview and become receptive to anti-Semitic or extreme right-wing positions.
How does the MBR provide support in a case like this?
First, the MBR and the daughter talked about what conspiracy ideologies are, how they work, and the social contexts in which they become most effective. In addition, during the consultation we provided recommendations on how to lead a conversation, deal with fake news and conspiracy narratives and strengthen one’s own democratic position. The aim of these capacity building techniques was to enable her to act more confidently in her future dealings with her mother. In a joint context analysis that focused on the relationship level, the daughter was encouraged to develop strategies for action and conversation in her own social environment in order to protect herself and to warn or protect others from conspiracy-ideological dynamics.