Psychology of Persuasion in the Mass Media: From Advertising to Propoganda
Universidad de Sevilla
Area of Study
Communication Studies, International Communications, International Studies, Mass Communications, Political Science
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
Although Publicity and Propaganda are not new, there is no doubt that the Twentieth Century witnessed
their explosive impact and development, to an unforeseeable extent, all of this linked with the no less spectacular
development of the mass media in the field of communication, especially Cinema, the Radio, and, finally,
In this sense, we consider that both Propaganda and Publicit are best understood as a specific kind of
commnication, the purpose of which may be set within the sphere of persuasive discourses marked by both
economic and ideological aims.
While, as indicated, it is the Twentieth Century and, as matters stand, the Twenty-First, which provide
Publicity and Propaganda with their unique framework, this Coursewill begin with a brief historical
overview which willallow students tobring into focus this subject-matter and its contextualization.
Following on from this, a study will be made of the key discursive strategies by means of which both Publicity and
Propaganda aim to make their objectives prevail. Within this section, what will be highlighted in the main is the
exploration of the use made by them of metaphors, symbolic forms, myths, and religion as ways of empowering
the effectiveness of their discourses.
Finally, consideration will be given to less usual, or indirect – and, therefore, more persuasive – manifestations of
Propaganda, as seen especially in the form of Cinema and Literature, without forgetting Comic-books and TV
Basically speaking, then, rather than the mere accumulation of information and unconnected data, this Course
endeavors to be of use in stimulating students, as individuals, to reflect upon a key issue in the lives of modern
men and women.
This Course aims to counteract student passivity, especially as a result of the way in which its
content impinges upon him or her as both a person and a citizen. In order to encourage active
participation, the theoretical, explanatory classes will always be based on practical back-up: class
debates, the screening of, and commentary on, documentaries and movies, the ad hoc reading of texts
linked to sessions of discussion and analysis, together with the reviewing of other texts and articles that
will be brought to hand.
The actual back-up material to be used in practical sessions (keeping in mind the variations which might
be introduced, when apt, as the Course develops) will include:
Videos and Movies (full-length or clips): The Great Dictator (C. Chaplin), Cabaret (B. Fosse), Apocalypse
Now (F. Coppola), Schindler’s List (S. Spielberg), Triumph of the Will (L. Riefenstahl), Los Santos Inocentes
(M. Camus), La lengua de las mariposas (J. L. Cuerda), El día de la Bestia (A. de la Iglesia)
Books: 1984 (G.Orwell), Farenheit 451 (R. Bradbury), Animal Farm (G. Orwell), Zero and the Infinite (A.
Koestler), All Quiet on the Western Front (E. M. Remarque), Qué me quieres amor (M. Rivas)
1. Definition: the Discourse of Persuasion in Mass Culture.
2. Propaganda vis à vis Publicity: from Politics to the Marketplace.
3. From their Origins to Modernity
4. The Nineteenth Century: The Masses Gain Protagonism
5. The Twentieth Century: from the Russian Revolution to Globalization and the ‘End of History’.
6. Publicity: from the Factual to the Symbolic.
7. The Ideology of Publicity, Ideology in Publicity.
8. Propaganda: Ideas, Convictions, and Blind Spots.
9. Myth, Religion, and Propaganda.
10. Other Forms of Propagands: Movies, Comicbooks, TV.
11. Literature and Propaganda.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.