Coms 361.docx - Coms 361 Why Study Propaganda Chapter 1...

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Coms 361 Why Study Propaganda Chapter 1 Introduction - The primary objectives of this book are to define what is meant by propaganda, to assist in understanding how it works, and to come to grips with ethical problems surrounding its use. - The objective of defining propaganda is not to hit upon a satisfactory definition for its own sake, but to understand and evaluate the overall phenomenon of mass persuasion, particularly the sort where a persuade feels deceived as a result of succumbing to a deceptive message. Definition - Over the years, there have been various definitions of the word propaganda. - The first definition dates back to when a committee of cardinals called, Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, we’re combatting the Reformation. Early use of propaganda referred to the committee itself rather than to its activities. It later became applied to the activity of spreading either faith or political doctrines. - The second definition is more recent, and says that propaganda is the dissemination of ideas, information or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person. Example : Politicians and bureaucrats tend to avoid saying that they use propaganda in their campaigns, but that their opponents do. - In general, the term propaganda is associated with a connotation of deception or manipulation . Kind of Definitions 1. Descriptive definitions: Before examining different definitions of propaganda, it is more important to first reflect on the nature of the definition. If we do not know the meaning of a word, we go to the dictionary to look it up, or we ask someone very knowledgeable. The problem with this is that dictionaries are very outdated, and maybe the person you ask for help makes use of a different meaning for the word. The best way to look up a definition is by using search engines. 2. Stipulative definitions: Stipulative definitions refers to when a person announces, or stipulates, that this is how he or she will be using the word. Example: a government might stipulate that people who have been unemployed for a certain amount of time are no longer to be considered in the labour market,
and those are not considered to be unemployed, which makes their unemployment rate seem better. 3. Hegemonic definitions: Hegemonic definitions refer to when people redefine words to suit their needs. Example: the government defines words such as terrorism in ways that suit its political and military purposes, or defines torture (when referring to its own practices) narrowly, so as to avoid the perception that they are breaking the law. Other names for hegemonic definitions are, rational reconstruction , and real definition . 4. Persuasive definitions: Persuasive definitions: when hotly disputed matters are at stake, people often make use of definitions that tend to favour their side of a given argument.

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