Meaning of PROPAGANDA in English


dissemination of informationfacts, arguments, rumours, half-truths, or liesto influence public opinion. Propaganda is the more or less systematic effort to manipulate 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). Deliberateness and a relatively heavy emphasis on manipulation distinguish propaganda from casual conversation or the free and easy exchange of ideas. The propagandist has a specified goal or set of goals. To achieve these he deliberately selects facts, arguments, and displays of symbols and presents them in ways he thinks will have the most effect. To maximize effect, he may omit pertinent facts or distort them, and he may try to divert the attention of the reactors (the people whom he is trying to sway) from everything but his own propaganda. Comparatively deliberate selectivity and manipulation also distinguish propaganda from education. The educator tries to present various sides of an issuethe grounds for doubting as well as the grounds for believing the statements he makes, and the disadvantages as well as the advantages of every conceivable course of action. Education aims to induce the reactor to collect and evaluate evidence for himself and assists him in learning the techniques for doing so. It must be noted, however, that a given propagandist may look upon himself as an educator, may believe that he is uttering the purest truth, that he is emphasizing or distorting certain aspects of the truth only to make a valid message more persuasive, and that the courses of action that he recommends are in fact the best actions that the reactor could take. By the same token, the reactor who regards the propagandist's message as self-evident truth may think of it as educational; this often seems to be the case with true believersdogmatic reactors to dogmatic religious or social propaganda. Education for one person may be propaganda for another. dissemination of informationfacts, arguments, rumours, half-truths, or liesto influence public opinion. As a systematic effort to persuade, propaganda is an act of advocacy in mass communication, involving the making of deliberately one-sided statements to a mass audience. The one-sided presentations common to propaganda are used to spread and nourish particular images by emphasizing only the good points of one position and the bad points of another. Although the fact of propaganda activity is old, the term is comparatively modern, deriving from the name of the organization set up in 1622 by the Roman Catholic church to carry on missionary work, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (propaganda fide). In the effort to manipulate people's beliefs and attitudes, propaganda uses a wide variety of symbols ranging from words and graphic art to banners, monumental sculpture, clothing, insignia, and postage-stamp designs. Contemporary propagandists use opinion surveys and other researching techniques to determine how most effectively to employ symbols in order to influence people's attitudes. In the 20th century, pictures and the written media, which were formerly the principal instruments for propaganda, were supplemented by radio, motion pictures, and television, which could convey vivid propagandistic symbols to a mass audience. Archaeological evidence indicates that ancient civilizations used impressive statues, temples, palaces, and sumptuous clothing to convince their subjects of the power and greatness of a particular king, noble, or priesthood. The ancient Greeks were perhaps the first people to develop a systematic and deliberate analysis of propaganda in their cultivation of rhetoric and public argumentation as a means of swaying the minds of assembled groups of listeners. Propaganda of a sort has been used by virtually all of the world's great religions as they sought to make converts, and, indeed, the spread of all complex political systems and religions has probably been due to a combination of earnest conviction and the deliberate use of propaganda. The Industrial Revolution brought a new type of propaganda that aimed at affecting the beliefs and buying preferences of consumers through the use of mass-marketing and advertising campaigns. Enormous masses of data on consumer attitudes and psychology are now routinely compiled by large corporations and trade organizations in order that they may better understand and manipulate consumers' wants; and these techniques have also been adapted for use by politicians interested in gaining or keeping public support for themselves and for their political programs. A somewhat more ominous modern development of propaganda has occurred in such 20th-century totalitarian states as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, where the dissemination of information and popular culture were strictly controlled by the state. Under these regimes, virtually all of the mass media were converted into blatantly propagandistic vehicles striving to uphold the power and authority of the state and to induce the population to wholeheartedly accept the state's ideology and declared goals. Additional reading Annotated listings of books and articles of many times, countries, and languages, with respect to public opinion and the theory and practice of communication (including propaganda) appear in Harold D. Lasswell, Ralph D. Casey, and Bruce Lannes Smith (eds.), Propaganda and Promotional Activities: An Annotated Bibliography (1935, reissued 1969); Bruce Lannes Smith, Harold D. Lasswell, and Ralph D. Casey, Propaganda, Communication, and Public Opinion: A Comprehensive Reference Guide (1946); and Harold D. Lasswell, Daniel Lerner, and Hans Speier (eds.), Propaganda and Communication in World History, 3 vol. (197980). Further listings on general and international propaganda are in Bruce Lannes Smith and Chitra M. Smith, International Communication and Political Opinion: A Guide to the Literature (1956, reissued 1972). More recent periodical literature may be found in International Political Science Abstracts (bimonthly); Psychological Abstracts (monthly); and Sociological Abstracts (5/yr.).General works of considerable significance include Quincy Wright (ed.), Public Opinion and World-Politics (1933, reissued 1972); Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957, reissued 1967); Karl W. Deutsch, The Nerves of Government: Models of Political Communication and Control (1963); Lewis Anthony Dexter and David Manning White (eds.), People, Society, and Mass Communications (1964); Jacques Ellul, Propaganda (1965, reissued 1973; originally published in French, 1962); Leonard W. Doob, Public Opinion and Propaganda, 2nd ed. (1966); and Anthony R. Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson, Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion (1992).Analyses of the role of propaganda during World Wars I and II can be found in Harold D. Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927, reprinted 1972); Daniel Lerner, Sykewar: Psychological Warfare Against Germany, D-Day to VE-Day (1949, reissued as Psychological Warfare Against Nazi Germany: The Sykewar Campaign, D-Day to VE-Day, 1971); Alexander L. George, Propaganda Analysis: A Study of Inferences Made from Nazi Propaganda in World War II (1959, reissued 1973); K.R.M. Short (ed.), Film & Radio Propaganda in World War II (1983); and Richard W. Steele, Propaganda in an Open Society: The Roosevelt Administration and the Media, 19331941 (1985). Studies of the role of propaganda in the conduct of foreign policy include Daniel Lerner (ed.), Propaganda in War and Crisis (1951, reissued 1972); Robert T. Holt and Robert W. Van de Velde, Strategic Psychological Operations and American Foreign Policy (1960); and Ralph K. White, Nobody Wanted War: Misperception in Vietnam and Other Wars, rev. ed. (1970).The role of propaganda in the creation of the British empire is discussed in John M. MacKenzie, Propaganda and Empire: The Manipulation of British Public Opinion, 18801960 (1984). Soviet propaganda efforts are discussed in Frederick C. Barghoorn, The Soviet Cultural Offensive: The Role of Cultural Diplomacy in Soviet Foreign Policy (1960, reprinted 1976), and Soviet Foreign Propaganda (1964). Also worth reading is Philip Selznick, The Organizational Weapon: A Study of Bolshevik Strategy and Tactics (1952, reissued 1979). Peter Kenez, The Birth of the Propaganda State: Soviet Methods of Mass Mobilization, 19171929 (1985), thoroughly discusses the origins of the Soviet propaganda efforts. Chinese propaganda is examined in Frederick T.C. Yu, Mass Persuasion in Communist China (1964).The impact of propaganda upon individuals is considered in the following texts: Elihu Katz and Paul F. Lazarsfeld, Personal Influence (1955, reissued 1965); Irving L. Janis et al., Personality and Persuasibility (1959, reprinted 1982); Joseph T. Klapper, The Effects of Mass Communication (1960); and Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion, 2nd ed. (1992).The role of propaganda in creating political and symbolic realities is considered in Harold D. Lasswell et al., Language of Politics (1949, reissued 1968); Harold D. Lasswell, Daniel Lerner, and Ithiel de Sola Pool, The Comparative Study of Symbols (1952); and Philo C. Wasburn, Broadcasting Propaganda: International Radio Broadcasting and the Construction of Political Reality (1992).The relationship between propaganda and the political process is treated by Bernard R. Berelson, Paul F. Lazarsfeld, and William N. McPhee, Voting: A Study of Opinion Formation in a Presidential Campaign (1954, reprinted 1986); Lucian W. Pye (ed.), Communications and Political Development (1963); Wilbur Schramm, Mass Media and National Development: The Role of Information in the Developing Countries (1964); Joe McGinniss, The Selling of the President, 1968 (1969, reprinted 1988); and Ted J. Smith, III (ed.), Propaganda: A Pluralistic Perspective (1989). Propaganda aspects of diplomatic negotiation include Harold Nicolson, Diplomacy, 3rd ed. (1963); and Fred Charles Ikl, How Nations Negotiate (1964, reprinted 1982).Texts on legal aspects and social control of propaganda include Harold D. Lasswell, Democracy Through Public Opinion (1941); L. John Martin, International Propaganda: Its Legal and Diplomatic Control (1958, reissued 1969); John B. Whitton and Arthur Larson, Propaganda Towards Disarmament in the War of Words (1963); B.S. Murty, Propaganda and World Public Order (1968, reissued as The International Law of Propaganda, 1989); John W. Burton, Conflict & Communication: The Use of Controlled Communication in International Relations (1969); and Terence H. Qualter, Opinion Control in the Democracies (1985), an advanced study. The sociological impact of propaganda is considered in Maureen Honey, Creating Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda During World War II (1984).Propaganda issues within the media include Alex P. Schmid and Janny de Graaf, Violence as Communication: Insurgent Terrorism and the Western News Media (1982); and David L. Paletz and Alex P. Schmid (eds.), Terrorism and the Media (1992). Bruce Lannes Smith

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