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Word of the Day: Propaganda

The science behind Propaganda

By Danna Martinez

The ads you see every day can influence your attitude towards objects and situations. This communication method is known as propaganda, and its purpose is to directly or indirectly affect society’s thinking and decisions on a specific topic, argument, or ideology.

The word propaganda comes from the Latin propagāre, which means to expand the knowledge of something or the taste for it.

According to the American Historical Association, The term ‘propaganda’ apparently came into common use in Europe as a result of the missionary activities of the Catholic Church. In 1622 Pope Gregory XV created the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome.

Propaganda is responsible for disseminating news, opinions, doctrines, political and religious ideals, among others. In addition to communicating ideas, it can become a source of intellectual, cultural, ideological, and political renewal. Propaganda has been used throughout history for different purposes, among which we can find:

  • Political propaganda. It seeks to generate a clear communication plan with proposals, speeches, and resources to influence citizens and get their support at the electoral level.
  • Religious propaganda. It’s characterized by stimulating the active participation of people in matters of religious interest.
  • War propaganda. It is used as a method of communication that reinforces forces and generally spreads false information. The objective is to maintain the confidence of own troops and to intimidate the enemy forces. War propaganda is often called “psychological warfare.” This concept, created in the United States, is used as an instrument of power to destroy the enemy’s will and fighting capacity.
  • Social propaganda. It seeks to set non-commercial objectives and generate a positive effect on society in favor of social causes. This type of propaganda does not encourage the purchase of any product or service.
  • Commercial or advertising propaganda. Unlike social propaganda, this type of propaganda seeks economic and social performance. Presents promote and spread a message that aims to persuade, produce a reaction or modify behavior.

Propaganda is characterized by being subjective and attractive to the public. Encourage to create your propaganda! Use the following tips to create your own poster.


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