Thursday, February 1, 2007

A brief analysis of propaganda

1- The term propaganda comes from the title and work of the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for Propagation of the Faith), an organization of Roman Catholic cardinals founded in 1622 to carry on missionary work. 2- Propaganda also means agitation. Elaborating upon Lenin's pamphlet What Is To Be Done? Russian Marxist Georgy Plekhanov defined propaganda as “the reasoned use of historical and scientific arguments to indoctrinate the educated and enlightened.” He defined agitation as the use of "slogans, parables, and half-truths to exploit the grievances of the uneducated and the unreasonable." He regarded both strategies as absolutely essential to political victory and twinned them in the term agitprop. 3- This is how Joseph Goebbels (Hitler's minister of Propaganda) understood it: "Political propaganda in principle is active and revolutionary. It is aimed at the broad masses. It speaks the language of the people because it wants to be understood by the people. Its task is the highest creative art of putting sometimes complicated events and facts in a way simple enough to be understood by the man on the street. Its foundation is that there is nothing the people cannot understand, but rather things must be put in a way that they can understand. It is a question of making it clear to him by using the proper approach, evidence, and language." 4- Propaganda manipulates other people's beliefs, attitudes, or actions by means of symbols: Words, gestures, banners, monuments, music, clothing, insignia, hairstyles, designs on coins and postage stamps, and so forth. 5- At the level of symbols: Gestures (a military salute); postures (a weary slump, folded arms, a sit-down, an aristocratic bearing); structures (a monument, a building); items of clothing (a uniform, a civilian suit); visual signs (a poster, a flag, a picket sign, a badge, a printed page, a commemorative postage stamp, a swastika scrawled on a wall); all these constitute instances of propaganda. 6- Contemporary propaganda employs elaborate social-scientific research facilities to conduct opinion surveys and psychological interviews in efforts to learn the symbolic meanings of given signs. Written media include letters, handbills, posters, billboards, newspapers, magazines, books, and handwriting on walls and streets. Among audiovisual media, TV is the most powerful. 7- Although propaganda and advertising share a number of strategies, I prefer not to overlap them. Advertising includes all forms of paid, nonpersonal communication and promotion of products, services, or ideas by a specified sponsor. It appears in print media (newspapers, magazines, billboards, flyers) or broadcast (radio, TV). We'll tackle the issue later on in the semester.


JustineH said...

Nowadays the term propaganda conjures up images of overt attempts at swaying judgement as was used during times of political upheaval and war. Yet it is often forgotten that slogans like "stay in school" and "dont do drugs" are themselves propaganda. Oversimplifying issues in order to gain a result.
I think the propaganda of today is far more subtle than the overt rhetoric of decades gone by. Today's audience has been made sensitive to propaganda through exposure to it from a historical perspective. This more subtle form of propaganda is far more dangerous in my opinion, warping views quietyly by planting seeds of thought in a manner akin to subliminal messages.
It is far easier to determine what propaganda is in a state where free speech is not allowed and rights are limited, there is less of an effort at thought control. Dictatorship propaganda tells you what the government's view (and therefore your view) is. Propaganda exists in every country though many choose not to believe so. One example I like is the pressure put on scientists by government officials to remove the phrases "global warming" and "climate change" from reports.
refer to articles:

Meng said...

The whole purpose of a propaganda is to influence the way one thinks. I think a new way they came through with propaganda recently is reality TV and music. Music has always been extremely common for influencing with how people think. I think pop musicians have became more brave in their song writing, video making, and even the way they act nowadays, knowing the government and the audience can't really do jack about it. When one likes a certain type of music or artist, he usually looks up to them. Rap music promotes casual sex, punk music is anti-government and pro-anarchy, and everything else popular just trying to make you purchase fancy cars and designer merchandise from what I've seen so far. Tons of young women and men are having lots of sex and probably doing lots of drugs but they aren't allow to show it on reality TV, but it's not hard to see it from their actions. It's like a huge sign in your face saying, "Everyone's doing it, what are you waiting for?" There are a couple of "don't do drugs" commercials (I really like the TRUTH commercials, their messages were nicely conveyed) during breaks but they hardly do anything comparing to the mass amount of opposite influence people are getting from watching these shows.

tae said...

Propaganda is used to communicate an ideology. It uses simple, yet powerful, images and slogans to communicate its message. It can be manipulative and is intended to indoctrinate the masses to the ideology. Its delivery can be intended for evil or intended for good. The context can also be derived from how it is received by and how it affects the masses. Propaganda, along with its ideologies, evolves as the message is accepted, believed, and utilized. If the message is accepted, the propaganda and its ideology become more powerful—more effective—in moving the masses to the next stage of the ideology. However, and hopefully, there remain dissenters. Not everyone buys into the propaganda or the ideology that it communicates. Dissenters will develop and use their own propaganda to sway the masses against the other ideology. This ideological tug of war has always been present, and it is unlikely to disappear. It is the basis for civilization.

diana.arguello said...

Propaganda comes in many forms. A form of propaganda is testimonials. For instance; famous people telling you why they support a special cause, vote a certain way, use a certain product. On tv, you see the commercials of Proactive Solution, which is an acne management system that works to heal and prevent acne and you see the tons of artist (P.Diddy, Lindsay Lohan, Kelly Clarkson) that come out supporting it. They say how proactive has made there lives better because, now they have clear skin and how in the spot light you always need to have clear skin if not people will talk bad about you. Therefore, they are suggesting, that this product will make you look and feel good so, imagine the people that look up to these artist they probably will go out and buy this product themselves so, that they could get rid of any acne that they. Another form of propaganda is glittering generalities, which uses slogans, or simple phrases that sound good. An example that is both a testimonial and glittering generalities was the 2004 MTV “Choose or Lose” campaign along with P.Diddys “Vote or Die”. Both of these forms of propaganda were type of message aimed at influencing the opinions of the young American voters. Everyday each one of us comes across with propaganda.

Kristal said...

Propaganda can be a very strong tool to get a message across to a large group of people. However, propaganda is not just a message, it is alluring and convincing toward the masses. Propaganda has spread into all sorts of media over the years. The most interesting, at least to me, has been its use in comic books.
Particularly, Captain America can be seen as the perfect example of this. A kid born during the great depression that wanted to join the army after he saw Nazi atrocities in newsreels. After receiving his super powers while participating in some military science experiments, Captain America goes off to fight the foreign evils.
I can easily relate to the use of scare tactics in propaganda, as a future teacher. During my associate teaching, the easiest way to get a student to remember something was to scare them or gross them out. The same principle applies to propaganda. It has to be at a level that a large amount of people will not only understand it, but will have some sort of emotional impact; and fear is a very powerful emotion.

achasey said...

When i think of the term propaganda it usually has a negative feeling to it. However the word propaganda simply means using scientific evidence to argue a point. This seems pretty essential, using proof to get your point across. In order to make any mass of people believe something it must have fact in it, and it also must be put in terms that that mass can understand. Some of the greatest masters of propaganda said that there is no idea that is too complicated for the public to understand as long as it is explained in the right way. This makes sense and i believe it, but it has its problems. Problems can arise when truths are used to imply something that is not necessarily true, or to imply something that is not fact but mere opinion. Of course everyone gets their opinions from some source, but in society it is often at times when a bunch of like minded people stop questioning right and wrong and just go with the masses, that things get bad for the few people who do not think the same way. During these times it seems that propaganda gets its bad name. Influencing people is part of life and it is a way to share ideas, however it is the responsibility of the masses to continue to think out problems themselves before they are influenced and lose their freedome of thought.