Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Propaganda: Lasswell & Ellul

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Propaganda: Lasswell & Ellul



Propaganda can have different meanings depending on who is defining the words. The definition of propaganda can vary based on ones views and values.

According to Laswell, "Propaganda in the broadest sense is the manipulations of the representations. (Laswell, 13)" Laswell believes that both advertising and publicity fall under the field of propaganda. "Modern revolutionaries use propaganda to mean the spreading of doctrine; incitement is agitation. (Laswell, 13)"

According to Ellul, Propaganda is look upon "As a collection of "gimmicks" and of more or less serious practices. And psychologists and sociologists very often reject the scientific character of these practices. (Ellul, 1)."

Even though propaganda can be defined in many ways, the effects of it holds a lot of power. According to Harold D. Lasswell, "not only does propaganda seek to invade the whole man, to lead him to adopt a mystical attitude and reach him through all possible psychological channels, but, more, it speaks to all men." Meaning that propaganda leaves no room for discussion, it simply takes over ones thought.

2 Comments:

Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good, substantial post.

Your discussion of the quotes is good until we reach the last sentence: "Meaning that propaganda leaves no room for discussion, it simply takes over ones thought."

Notice that neither Lasswell nor Ellul go that far. You quoted Lasswell: "propaganda seeks to invade the whole man" Notice the word "seeks" It is no simple task to "take over ones thought." That kind of complete control may be a goal, but not a reality. Be careful about attributing to much power to the propagandist.

2/14/2007 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A helpful and well-written post.

I am currently writing a research paper on propaganda, and I wondered
if you could tell me what article the citation "Lasswell 13" originated from.
I am searching for books and other medium written by experts on propaganda
and I would like to use a few quotes by Lasswell in my paper.

If you could post a reply to this comments area, that would be greatly appreciated.

5/17/2012 8:04 PM  

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