martedì, dicembre 19, 2017

How Propaganda Works by Jason Stanley

How Propaganda Works by Jason Stanley is a book published by Princeton University Press.

What is propaganda and how can it be legitimate in liberal democracies?

It is amazing the message spread by mr Stanley.

The author doesn't have doubts: propaganda is a contribution in liberal democracies or let's use this expression, another voice, an additional voice to public debate and discussion and can take these shapes: non linguistic and linguistic forms.


Because propaganda uses posters, movies, spots, everything in grade to reach people for changing their mind. Not only: propagandistic message in general is very clear for everyone. Propaganda wants to spread a message, eroding reasonabless and certainties in individuals.

Stalkner talked of: "ruling out situations."

What does that mean? Let's see. I ask you an information and you give me a certain direction. I give certainty to certain facts.
The example can be a store where I can buy a Christmas Tree.
Doing this, I exclude automatically other realities, other "worlds" other streets, and  paths, other stores where I could buy a Christmas Trees. Why? Because not anymore existing.

After all aren't there many other stores where I could go for buying a Christmas Tree? Yes, but I ask for a direction, you give me that and that exchange changes the relationship between us. I trust you, you trust me.

What I do during this process is including and excluding. I include the fact that the world I want to describe and where I want to go is the world I asked to you for and at the same time you believe that.

The author adds that this one is a great way of communication.

Now let's see another phrase where we can read secrets meaning.

If I tell to someone: "I spent part of every summer time until I was ten with my grandmother, who lived in a working-class suburb of Boston" you can see that there is to reflect a lot. There are many hidden messages in this phrase.

Why? Because intentionally I want to let you know something about the social status of my granny. She didn't live in Beacon Hill but in a working-class suburb and it means that other questions will follow with this first, apparently innocent phrase.

But other example follow. Did you know that some words in an expression can be used as a hedge?

If I tell to someone that "The President is about to give a speech, I hear" the function of "I hear" alters the common phrase "The President is about to give a speech" profoundly.

Most common propaganda works like it: "Repeating association between words and social meanings" explains Stanley. Not only: propagandists uses both imagines and words as basis for their conventional meanings.

Social meaning and what it means for our society.

We can start from from a couple and then a marriage and then the born of various children. A family is the first nuclear society, are we all right about it?
Great. At every levels we have laws and institutions. Marriage is a contract as well and laws must be respected for example in a marriage as also for extension in our society.
Propaganda loves to attach problematic social meanings.

I will stop here...

I could continue telling to you that at first the author traces a definition of propaganda and how in the past Plato and Aristotle although imperfect thought that democracy was the best government people could ask for.
But I want to let you discover all the rest, a lot by yourself. It's an absorbing book this one, it can't be finished in one night. There is a lot to reflect about.
It's a philosophic trip this one through times, through minds and chapters about a word so important in our days at different levels.

I highly recommend this book to everyone remembering it is a book dense of concepts, pretty philosophical (it will open your mind) but absolutely one of the best ones I read.
I knew something about propaganda but this book, you will see will be in grade to make the difference in your life.
It's important to be conscious of our choices and to think correctly first of all because we will be and we will live free :-)

I thank so much Princeton University Press for the beautiful physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

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