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Propaganda (Module)

Module description

*Please note that module information is indicative and is subject to change for future academic years.

Propaganda has been regarded as one of the key instruments of political practice since the beginning of the 20th century. Propaganda research played a crucial role in establishing the academic field of communication studies in the social sciences. After its heyday in the interwar and early post-cold war years, propaganda research has recently regained the attention of scholar investigating the nexus between information and warfare. This course traces the development of propaganda research over the last century up to the present day. The aim is to discover continuities and ruptures in order to conceptualise information strategies against the background of current conflicts and security issues.


This module aims to provide:

- a critical engagement with the idea of propaganda

- an appreciation of the political, sociological and psychological approaches to the study of propaganda

- a framework for understanding and analysing the impact and of persuasive communication on the media in times of war

- a critical appreciation of the relationship between government, the military and media organisations

- an awareness of how propaganda affects political decisions and public discourse

- a systematic investigation of the challenges media professionals face because of the emergence of 24/7 news coverage

- a critical understanding of the impact on new media on the proliferation of propaganda

Learning Outcomes:

On successfully completing the module students will demonstrate:

- in-depth knowledge of the role of propaganda in a number of historical and contemporary wars

- critical engagement in the methodological questions associated with the study of propaganda and persuasion

- a reflexive understanding of the dynamics of the military-media relationship in times of war

- an ability to analyse the impact of persuasive communication techniques on wider domestic and international political decision-making and the ways in which the political establishment strives to control media output

- a critical awareness of propaganda devices, including still and moving images of war and suffering

- an ability to engage critically with the literature on the subject and to undertake independent research

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

For a Half Year 15-credit module, teaching is typically 2 hours per week over 10 weeks, so 20 hours of teaching, as well as 130 hours of self-study.

Module assessment - more information

Not applicable

Key information

Module code 7SSWM012

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 15

Semester Full-year

Study abroad module No