New book by school academic explores how propaganda persuades and how we can counter it

Posted by als26 at Nov 04, 2019 01:20 PM |
'The SAGE Handbook of Propaganda' is co-edited by Professor Paul Baines, Professor of Political Marketing at the University of Leicester School of Business, and will be published on 28 December 2019
New book by school academic explores how propaganda persuades and how we can counter it

Professor Paul Baines

The book unpacks the ever-present and exciting topic of propaganda to explain how it invades the human psyche, in what ways it does so, and in what contexts.

As a beguiling tool of political persuasion in times of war, peace, and uncertainty, propaganda incites people to take, often violent, action, consciously or unconsciously. This pervasive influence is particularly prevalent in world politics and international relations today. In this interdisciplinary Handbook, the editors have gathered together a group of world-class scholars from Europe, America, Asia, and the Middle East, to discuss leadership propaganda, war propaganda, propaganda for peace marketing, propaganda as a psychological tool, terror-enhanced propaganda, and the contemporary topics of internet-mediated propaganda.

Unlike previous publications on the subject, this book brings to the forefront current manifestations and processes of propaganda such as Islamist, and Far Right propaganda, from interdisciplinary perspectives.

Here, Professor Baines explains what his book is about and why you should read it.

What is the book about?

“The Handbook is broken up into the four Parts as follows:

Part 1: Concepts, Precepts and Techniques in Propaganda Research

Part 2: Methodological Approaches in Propaganda Research

Part 3: Tools and Techniques in Counter-Propaganda Research

Part 4: Propaganda in Context

The handbook has embraced a wide area of the propaganda studies field, including: propaganda from around the world; integrative and ‘peace propaganda’ approaches; countering violent extremist propaganda; countering disinformation and fake news; atrocity propaganda; and countering cyberspace propaganda and other technological developments. The Handbook particularly focuses on important contemporary topics such as propaganda effectiveness measurement, fake news, disinformation, war propaganda, and propaganda in the digital era.

We hope readers feel like we do that the SAGE Handbook of Propaganda covers an impressive array of propaganda practice, illuminating its use through the modern and historical world via a global perspective. These chapters, from an impressive list of contributors ranging from academics to practitioners, cover a wide array of themes prevalent in propaganda today and in yesteryear. Our intention is to provide propaganda researchers and practitioners with a much more informed understanding of how propaganda functions, how it can be countered, and how the effectiveness of both can be measured more accurately. We believe this is the first time a Handbook of Propaganda has been developed with this specific managerialist focus to aid policy-makers, and this serves to supplement wider societal perspectives on propaganda.”

What makes your book different?

“The book’s USP is that it completely rewrites the manual on propaganda to bring our understanding of it into the modern era. The last five years have made much that was previously written on the subject rather obsolescent. This book captures the state of the art now, the global upheavals precipitated by the propaganda wars. What is also noteworthy is the international nature of the book's contributor base; we have contributions from around the world, about propaganda being used in different parts of the world.”

“This collection of expertise on propaganda is highly original. Notable chapters include discussions about: atrocity propaganda in Australia and the UK during the first world War (by Emily Robertson); character assassination as a modus operandi of Soviet propaganda (by Sergei Samoilenko and Margarita Karnysheva); determining propaganda effectiveness in North Korea (by Efe Sevin et al); fighting and framing fake news (by Maria and Thomas Haigh); evaluating the effectiveness of US counter-terrorism efforts in Iraq (by Alberto M. Fernandez) peace marketing as propaganda (by Dianne Dean and Haseeb Shabbir); cold war propaganda in civil war Greece (by Zinovia Lialiouti); ISIS female recruiting (by Louisa Tarras-Wahlberg); IS’s strategic communication tactics (by Charlie Winter and Craig Whiteside) and the evolution of terrorist propaganda in cyberspace (by Gabriel Weimann), among many others!”

Who is your audience?

“Countering propaganda is everyone’s business! Reading this book will make you much more knowledgeable about this crucial subject – how propaganda persuades and how to counter that persuasion. We think the audience is everyone from government counter-terrorism and communication researchers, to communication/media/marketing/politics/journalism/war and peace studies academics and students, to business people with an interest in persuasion, to the general reader with more than a passing interest in how they are being persuaded by their own governments and their governments’ adversaries.”

Where did the idea to write the book come from?

“Propaganda has been a long-standing interest of the co-editors who have all, in their own ways, been working in this field for many years. In 2009, Paul Baines and Nicholas O’Shaughnessy published articles in Marketing Theory and again in Public Relations Inquiry in 2014 both of which discussed the persuasive symbolic devices used in Islamist propaganda to create supporters of Islamist, particularly Al Qaeda, terrorism. Nancy Snow (with the late Philip Taylor) has previously edited the Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy, a related topic, by Routledge”.

Why are you interested in propaganda?

“Propaganda is such a powerful tool. Propagandists can build grievances into entire nations. Witness both sides of the UK EU referendum debate in the modern era, or the Nazification of Germany in the 1930s/1940s and their justification of the Holocaust. Propaganda can therefore be used to initiate great violence and even genocide. Consider the anti-semitic propaganda tome, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, used to justify pogroms in Russia in the early 20th century, or radio propaganda used in Rwanda which set Hutus against Tutsis in 1994 causing the deaths of 800,000 people. According to the Global Terrorism Index, 18,814 people were killed in terrorist attacks worldwide. Many of these attacks are inspired by propaganda. Our argument goes this way: if propaganda inspires terrorism, we need to identify forms of counter-propaganda that encourage societal resilience to terrorism. We hope this Handbook will inspire and lead the way.”

What do you hope to achieve from publishing the book?

“We have pretty tall ambitions. We want to help re-emancipate the study of propaganda and counter propaganda, to re-energise the discipline, to connect academics and practitioners worldwide, and to help counter adversary use of propaganda so that its pernicious effects on society are minimised.”

What’s next?

“Although ISIS has been territorially defeated, Islamist propaganda from it, Al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups is not going away any time soon. As a society, we are increasingly worried about far right propaganda and foreign country interference in domestic elections using nefarious digital marketing techniques. We are all deeply concerned about how terrorist groups claim legitimacy using propaganda techniques and so I suspect we’ll publish another book or journal article on the topic of terrorist propaganda soon enough.

The book

Order a copy here

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