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What is the Good Kind of Propaganda?
January 22, 2022 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm PST
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What do we talk about when we talk about propaganda? Join Mattias Martens for a discussion of language, politics, and the ethics of communication.
As a word for deceptive and manipulative communication, “propaganda” is vulnerable to emotive conjugation: we tend to use it not when we see communication that fits a pattern, but communication that gives a bad vibe.
So, if propaganda is communication with a bad vibe, what do we call communication with a good vibe? (Education? Information? Evangelism? Testimony?) Or, if it’s more specific than that, what are those specifics?
Per Wikipedia, propaganda scholar Emma Briant defines propaganda as “the deliberate manipulation of representations… with the intention of producing any effect in the audience… that is desired by the propagandist.” When does intending to produce an effect in an audience become unethical? Is it when the methods are dishonest? How do framing and priming fit into this question?
Let’s have a collaborative discussion about how we can use this word more mindfully, and what assumptions might lie behind it.
- My thread about “affect rainbows”: ranges of words with the same meaning, sorted by vibes
- SciShow: How Ads (and People) Persuade You
- The Wikipedia article on propaganda, particularly the section “Types” (white, grey, black)
- The Wikipedia article on loaded language
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