The Manipulative Mode: Political Propaganda in Antiquity: A Collection of Case Studies

The Manipulative Mode: Political Propaganda in Antiquity: A Collection of Case Studies

The Manipulative Mode: Political Propaganda in Antiquity: A Collection of Case Studies

The Manipulative Mode: Political Propaganda in Antiquity: A Collection of Case Studies

Synopsis

This book deals with political propoganda in classical antiquity, exploring the contexts, strategies, and parameters of a fascinating phenomenon that has often been approached with anachronistic models (such as the centrally organized propaganda machines of the 20th-century totalitarian regimes) or completely ignored. It offers case studies on the archaic period, classical Athens, the Hellenistic kingdoms, the Augustan age and the late Roman empire, and emphasizes concepts such as interaction, integration, and horizontal orientation.

Excerpt

We live in an age of propaganda. The ever increasing perfection of the means of communication as for technology, marketing and logistics has produced ever growing opportunities for governments and companies to manipulate, control and even shape our minds. The mass media are literally omnipresent and all-pervasive. In fact, it is hard to pass a single day without being exposed to their manipulative stream of information. While other parameters that constitute personal identity are rapidly losing relevance, identity and identification created by the mass media become more and more decisive. Wars are lost and won on the battle-field of the television screen, where mondial sympathy for one’s cause is at stake. Elections, too, are decided on television, and media awareness is a pivotal part of a politician’s skill. Recent developments in several democratic countries have shown that spectacular changes in the political spectrum can be achieved by skilful manipulative campaigns. The techniques of manipulation have become more and more subtle and elaborate. Campaign leaders know that the success of a campaign is determined more by the way in which a certain message is presented man by its content. Mutatis mutandis, the same is true for marketing. The success of a certain product depends less on its quality than on a convincing commercial campaign. And these are but a few examples among many.

Against this background, it makes sense that in recent years the topic of propaganda received much attention in the hu-

This is especially true, of course, for the Western world, but has in fact become a universal phenomenon. A.P. Foulkes (Literature and Propaganda, London and New York 1983, 1) remarks: “Remote communities in Africa and Latin America, although they may lack schools, medical facilities, drinking water and agricultural implements, need possess only a transistor radio in order to tune themselves in to the advertising jingles and political slogans which […] desire to shape their social and economic reality […]”.

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