Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion
This book aims to develop a sophisticated understanding of propaganda. It begins with a brief history of early Western propaganda, including Ancient Greek classical theories of rhetoric and the art of persuasion, and traces its development through the Christian era, the rise of the nation-state, World War I, Nazism, and Communism. The core of the book examines the ethical implications of various forms of persuasion, not only hate propaganda but also insidious elements of more generally acceptable communication such as advertising, public relations, and government information, setting these in the context of freedom of expression. Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion examines the art of persuasion but it also hopes to establish a "self-defense" resistance to propaganda. As Jacques Ellul warned in 1980, any new technology enters into an already existing class system and can be expected to develop in a way favourable to the dominant interests of that system. The merger of AOL and Time-Warner confirms the likelihood of corporate interests dominating the future of the Internet, but the Internet has also opened up new possibilities for a politically effective counter-culture, as was demonstrated at the meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle in late 1999 and numerous similar gatherings since.
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