The Future of QAnon: Emergent Patterns of Social Movement Adaptation and Change

Wright J. M.

in: The Social Science of QAnon: A New Social and Political Phenomenon, Monica Miller, Editor, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (MA), USA , Massachusetts, pp.291-307, 2023

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (MA), USA 
  • City: Massachusetts
  • Page Numbers: pp.291-307
  • Editors: Monica Miller, Editor
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


QAnon is a conspiracy theory that has taken hold across the internet since 2017. It is based on an ongoing series of online posts by its alleged leader “Q,” who claims to use insider knowledge to make political predictions. “Q” frequently communicates through riddles and puzzles, calling on their followers to engage in their own “research” to solve them. QAnon has also been compared to a “cult” for the feverish devotion of its members. It has shown a particular ability to reinvent itself in the face of failed predictions, “frame bridging” or brokering ties with existing social networks and movements including lifestyle and wellness communities, antivaxxers, Deep State conspiracists, radical religious right factions, Patriot and militia movement actors, and other conspiracy-minded groups. While the formal literature on the QAnon community remains sparse, we take the approach of examining this phenomenon from the perspective of social movement adaptation and change, exploring possible trajectories of QAnon in the near future. Drawing on the themes of the previous chapters, this chapter considers the future of QAnon.