Propaganda and Self in the Modern Age Open Access

Reines, Bryan Matthew (2016)

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The term "propaganda" appears in political discourse frequently and carries with it a foul connotation. But what precisely is our concept of propaganda as we move into the twenty first century? What is the status of propaganda in a world where governments have a diminished ability to control information? This project examines a totalitarian iteration of propaganda and eventually advocates its reconception in light of modern political and technological trends: democracy, liberalism, and mass media. The project questions theories of propaganda that require a propagandist and imply unidirectionality, asserting that, like many other spheres of contemporary life, propaganda has undergone its own democratization. Finally, the work acknowledges how this investigation of modern propaganda originates in the earliest attempts to apply philosophy to convention (nomos) and therefore looks to Plato's depiction of the tension between philosophy and politics, exploring how individuals should act within large, mostly free, information saturated, modern democracies.

Table of Contents

I. Orwellian Propaganda. 4

II. The Democratization of Propaganda. 19

III. Propaganda of the Self. 40

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