We looked at the concept of mass society and its links to P – that is, esp from a sceptical European tradition that, the notion the emergence of a mass society where meaning attachments (class/community/status/traditions) were breaking down into the condition of anomie and detached individuals were open to adopting a new leader/messiah/life-plan. Thus alienated mass man is open to any old cult/faith/form of fascism so long as they re-gain a sense of purpose/meaning..and this is as true of stuff – goods –consumables in their lives as it is of new leaders.
Who is open to propaganda?
And are we open to it, not so much because we are intellectually weak as because we are ungrounded as against the driven power of the propagandist and their agency – the mass media?
Are we now consumers of images and excitements that quickly fascinate and seduce when we are already oriented culturally to being in the primary mode of a consumer with a sense of life-style?
Could the old style of propaganda – politics and political heroes of the hour (Stalin/Hitler/Moseley!) work anymore. Is P today largely about capitalism flogging its products i.e. P as ads?
What are the limits of Propaganda – what forms of mass persuasion fall outside P?
How about when ‘propaganda’ is for good ends such as elite led social reconstruction?
US notions of Mass Soc were more optimistic – that it meant they were flexible and open to new positive ideas about better future society and ways that could be shaped by well-meaning elites.
In a post-war world of reconstruction is this use of propaganda a good thing OR can it be deployed to less welfarist ends such as Ministers qua elites using sound bites picked up and echoed by the media to press home social distinctions such as strivers and skivers?
But whichever, propaganda - the recruiting of support for ideas and visions can be seen as a function of mass society, that is, people without firm structured reflexively grasped and maintained values and beliefs. (Is this right?)
And anyway, if the media are still self-serving, then do we suspect them of propagandist intent?
Thinking about it, when do we use the term ‘propaganda’? when we disapprove of some value we sense is being hawked around?
What is the argument? What is the role of the crusade that lets media interests coincide with public interest? And the reputation for being a crusading newspaper?
What if it goes wrong such as the Sun’s famous coverage of Hillsborough?
Do we 'accuse' this or that of being propaganda (along with the implication that its agent is malfeasant) when the Propaganda stands out as such and we have alternative values or indeed, oppositional values? and link to Adorno/Lukes - where we have been 'traied' into a system of values therewith we do not identify 'propaganda' supportive of those values as anything but the norm i.e. not as propaganda.
And can we separate out propaganda from scandal i.e. scandal functions against a backdrop of publicly shared morality which the papers know they usually have to endorse, but equally it allows for ‘scandals’ to be launched and thus for Shock, horror’ headlines that sell newspapers.
Is this not how Lazarsfeld et al are saying part of propaganda works – the broad moral outline that has been created inside which particular forms of it can be ‘canalized’
If so then how do we separate scandal from prop?
In an age when neither last very long?
Only to be forgotten tomorrow?
To what extent is the diff between propaganda and scandal a matter of longevity?
Is propaganda dangerous anymore – if so, why?
Perhaps most would affirm that classical mass media (radio/TV/press) are the carriers of Propaganda even if P does not always originate from the mass media in the first place – Beaverbrook?….yeah, ok.
But to what extent has P been the urge of a largely political force as to an economic one? (esp in war-time)(see Welch)
But is there something about the aura of the media that makes our acceptance of P more likely (Laz/merton on prestige of M)
Theory of canalisation – is this right? and of so to what extent does it militate against the power of media as the central agency of control?