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How Propaganda Works
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Princeton University Press 2015
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Our democracy today is fraught with political campaigns, lobbyists, liberal media, and Fox News commentators, all using language to influence the way we think and reason about public issues. Even so, many of us believe that propaganda and manipulation aren't problems for us—not in the way they were for the totalitarian societies of the mid-twentieth century. In How Propaganda Works, Jason Stanley demonstrates that more attention needs to be paid. He examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy—particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality—and how it has damaged democracies of the past.

Focusing on the shortcomings of liberal democratic states, Stanley provides a historically grounded introduction to democratic political theory as a window into the misuse of democratic vocabulary for propaganda's selfish purposes. He lays out historical examples, such as the restructuring of the US public school system at the turn of the twentieth century, to explore how the language of democracy is sometimes used to mask an undemocratic reality. Drawing from a range of sources, including feminist theory, critical race theory, epistemology, formal semantics, educational theory, and social and cognitive psychology, he explains how the manipulative and hypocritical declaration of flawed beliefs and ideologies arises from and perpetuates inequalities in society, such as the racial injustices that commonly occur in the United States.

How Propaganda Works shows that an understanding of propaganda and its mechanisms is essential for the preservation and protection of liberal democracies everywhere.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/26/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781400865802
ASIN:
B00SQGAVLI
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Jason Stanley. (2015). How Propaganda Works. Princeton University Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jason Stanley. 2015. How Propaganda Works. Princeton University Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jason Stanley, How Propaganda Works. Princeton University Press, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jason Stanley. How Propaganda Works. Princeton University Press, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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shortDescription

Our democracy today is fraught with political campaigns, lobbyists, liberal media, and Fox News commentators, all using language to influence the way we think and reason about public issues. Even so, many of us believe that propaganda and manipulation aren't problems for us—not in the way they were for the totalitarian societies of the mid-twentieth century. In How Propaganda Works, Jason Stanley demonstrates that more attention needs to be paid. He examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy—particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality—and how it has damaged democracies of the past.

Focusing on the shortcomings of liberal democratic states, Stanley provides a historically grounded introduction to democratic political theory as a window into the misuse of democratic vocabulary for propaganda's selfish purposes. He lays out historical examples, such as the restructuring of the US public school system at...

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title
How Propaganda Works
fullDescription

Our democracy today is fraught with political campaigns, lobbyists, liberal media, and Fox News commentators, all using language to influence the way we think and reason about public issues. Even so, many of us believe that propaganda and manipulation aren't problems for us—not in the way they were for the totalitarian societies of the mid-twentieth century. In How Propaganda Works, Jason Stanley demonstrates that more attention needs to be paid. He examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy—particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality—and how it has damaged democracies of the past.

Focusing on the shortcomings of liberal democratic states, Stanley provides a historically grounded introduction to democratic political theory as a window into the misuse of democratic vocabulary for propaganda's selfish purposes. He lays out historical examples, such as the restructuring of the US public school system at the turn of the twentieth century, to explore how the language of democracy is sometimes used to mask an undemocratic reality. Drawing from a range of sources, including feminist theory, critical race theory, epistemology, formal semantics, educational theory, and social and cognitive psychology, he explains how the manipulative and hypocritical declaration of flawed beliefs and ideologies arises from and perpetuates inequalities in society, such as the racial injustices that commonly occur in the United States.

How Propaganda Works shows that an understanding of propaganda and its mechanisms is essential for the preservation and protection of liberal democracies everywhere.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: -Raphael van Riel, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
      • content: The book's topic is fascinating, and Stanley's discussion of the relevance of theories of slurs for an analysis of large portions of public discourse and flawed ideology and its relation to the ideals of liberal democracy will hopefully bear on future research in this field.
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        An academic analysis of the ways in which propaganda still functions and influences ideology in contemporary society. The concept of propaganda seems to be an anachronism. Or, as Stanley (Philosophy/Yale Univ.; Know How, 2011, etc.) puts it, propaganda is typically reserved for historical thinking about totalitarian and fascist regimes-e.g., the Nazis or Stalinist Russia. However, this thinking is dangerous precisely because it removes propaganda from a contemporary context, thereby allowing it to infiltrate discourse unnoticed. Moreover, the concept of propaganda functioning within a democratic society is especially tricky since the very idea of democracy is at odds with an environment that could allow propaganda. Stanley astutely identifies the conundrum of democracy and propaganda: "Democracy is a system of self-rule that is supposed to maximize liberty. Freedom of speech, especially public political speech, cannot be restricted in a democracy. But the unrestricted use of propaganda is a serious threat to democracy." The author's analysis of propaganda within a democratic political system is scholarly but vital, as he dismantles this erroneous preconception step by step, from Plato to the present day. His dissections of language and social structures expose the underpinnings of how propaganda continues to dictate individual consciousness and social policy. For instance, the author painstakingly defines the terms of his analysis, creating distinctions among "supporting propaganda," "undermining propaganda," and "demagoguery," to name a few. Ultimately, the damage of propaganda, as defined by Stanley, is that it creates public opinion that is "radically misaligned" with national policy, all for the political or financial gain of the minority exploiting the flawed ideology of democratic society, however sincerely or insincerely. Citing examples ranging from historical racism in America to Citizens United, Stanley's critique of propaganda and ideology will only prove more influential as public and political opinion is further polarized. Laymen beware, but curious and disciplined readers will find a useful examination of propaganda's pervasiveness. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

popularity
116
publisher
Princeton University Press
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tableOfContents

Preface IX
Introduction: The Problem of Propaganda 1
1 Propaganda in the History of Political Thought 27
2 Propaganda Defined 39
3 Propaganda in Liberal Democracy 81
4 Language as a Mechanism of Control 125
5 Ideology 178
6 Political Ideologies 223
7 The Ideology of Elites: A Case Study 269
Conclusion 292
Acknowledgments 295
Notes 305
Bibliography 335
Index 347