Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: The Characteristics of Propaganda-Jacques Ellul

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Characteristics of Propaganda-Jacques Ellul

The article written by Jacques Ellul entitled "The Characteristics of propaganda", touched upon many interesting aspects of propaganda. Before having read this I had very little understanding of the concept of propaganda and how it worked.

As I proceeded further into the packet, the more I thought about what I had read, I felt as though this packet itself was a form of propaganda. The way Ellul wrote about the different types and forms of propaganda were in all actuality his own way of selling the reader the idea of propaganda as a whole. The repetition of certain ideas, and the overall text in my mind seemed to be Ellul selling his ideas. I have to admit that if this was his goal, he reached his goal successfully with me.

Ellul continues in his writing to explain that in order for propaganda to properly work it must attack the "group" through "individuality". This makes sense, because no two men are alike in intellectuality, or feelings, etc. By the propagandist attempting to attack an individual alone, this will take much more time then if he were to again like mentioned before attack the "group" through individuality. Each "man" must feel as though he is being addressed personally, or else why would he care enough to pay attention. The propagandist must make the people he is trying to "control" feel as though they want to participate, and that they are not being forced.

"propaganda carries within itself, of intrinsic necessity, the power to take over everything that can serve it." Ellul also mentions that in order for propaganda to work it must be in the public's face and in their life every minute of every day. The individual cannot have a moment without some type of article, poster, or radio announcement, etc., because if the propagandist slacks for just one moment this allows for the individual to have his/her own thoughts to fester.

3 Comments:

Blogger SHickcox said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/26/2006 3:41 PM  
Blogger SHickcox said...

I agree with everything that you touched upon. I believe you quote in the last paragraph is very powerful and drives home the main point of the author.

1/26/2006 3:42 PM  
Blogger A. Mattson said...

The relationship between the individual and the mass audience is an important issue here. Ellul's concept of addressing the mass audience not as a mass but as an individual in the mass is a key concept. As you wrote: "Each "man" must feel as though he is being addressed personally."
Your second point is also important. Ellul believes that the propagandist must surround the target with messages, constant messages, in many media.

1/30/2006 11:08 PM  

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