Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: The Characteristics of Propaganda - <a href ="" target= "_blank"> Jacques Ellul</a>

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Characteristics of Propaganda - Jacques Ellul

First of all, modern propaganda is based on
the scientific analysis of psychology and sociology.

I think this simple quote is the basis for all discussion about propaganda. Propaganda can only work if it plays to the people and culture it is aimed to. If the propagandist has not analyzed the psychology and sociology of the persons in the target audience, the propaganda has already failed.

Another way to look at this is to remember what we talked about the first class we had (Tuesday, January 24th, 2006) Propaganda does not change opinion of a culture, but more directly uses the culture to link the ideas that are trying to be proposed in the propaganda. If the propagandist can make a link within the target culture then they have a much greater chance of succeeding in their campaign.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

True. Ellul takes this a step further by saying that many different schools of science will be applied by propagandists. I found it fascinating that when he associated Soviet propaganda with Pavlov, Nazi with Freud, etc. There is very little agreement when it comes to the "science" of psychology or even sociology. We can agree that a scientific approach is necessary for modern propaganda, but what is meant by science is open to interpretation.

Your second point is key: propaganda must work with what people already believe.

1/30/2006 11:52 PM  

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