Make a Donation to the New Books Network

The New Books Network is run by volunteers, but the network has expenses. If you like what we do, consider making a contribution

Jason StanleyHow Propaganda Works

Princeton University Press, 2015

by Robert Talisse on May 1, 2015

Jason Stanley

View on Amazon

Propaganda names a familiar collection of phenomena, and examples of propaganda are easy to identify, especially when one examines the output of totalitarian states. In those cases, language and imagery are employed for the purpose of shaping mass opinion, forming group allegiances, constructing worldviews, and securing compliance. It is undeniable that propaganda is employed by liberal democratic states. But it is also undeniable that the use of propaganda is especially problematic in liberal democracies, as it looks incompatible with the democratic ideals of equality and autonomous self-government. It's surprising, then, that the topic of propaganda has gone relatively unexplored in contemporary political philosophy.

In How Propaganda Works (Princeton University Press, 2015), Jason Stanley develops an original theory of propaganda according to which propaganda is the deployment of an ideal against itself. Along the way, Stanley distinguishes various kinds of propaganda and explores the connections between propaganda, ideology, stereotypes, and group identities. Stanley's central thesis is that propaganda poses an epistemological problem for democracy, as propaganda is the vehicle by which false beliefs are disseminated and opportunities for knowledge are closed.

{ 0 comments }

Ananya VajpeyiRighteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India

April 30, 2015

Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India (Harvard University Press, 2012) by Ananya Vajpeyi is a rethinking of the self in self-rule, as understood in the ideas generated and reworked by five leading figures of the Indian independence movement. Analysing crises of the self, which it is argued stem from a crisis of tradition […]

Read the full article →

Joseph E. Uscinski and Joseph M. ParentAmerican Conspiracy Theories

April 27, 2015

"Conspiracy theories are neither the vile excrescence of puny minds nor the telltale symptom of a sick society. They are the ineradicable stuff of politics." That's a quotation from American Conspiracy Theories (Oxford UP, 2014), by Joseph E. Uscinski and Joseph M. Parent, two professors of political science at the University of Miami. Their study of conspiracy […]

Read the full article →

Torild SkardWomen of Power: Half a Century of Female Presidents and Prime Ministers Worldwide

April 26, 2015

Torild Skard is the author of Women of Power: Half a Century of Female Presidents and Prime Ministers Worldwide (Policy Press, 2015). Skard is a senior researcher in women's studies at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo and is a former member of parliament and the first woman president of the Norwegian Upper […]

Read the full article →

Jennifer DeltonRethinking the 1950s: How Anticommunism and the Cold War Made America Liberal

April 23, 2015

Conventional wisdom among historians and the public says anticommunism and the Cold War were barriers to reform during their height in the 1950s. In this view, the strong hand of a conservative anticommunism and Cold War priorities thwarted liberal and leftist reforms, political dissent and dreams of social democracy. Jennifer Delton is a professor of […]

Read the full article →

Matthew GreenUnderdog Politics: The Minority Party in the U.S. House of Representatives

April 20, 2015

Matthew Green has just written Underdog Politics: The Minority Party in the U.S. House of Representatives (Yale University Press, 2015). Green is associate professor of politics at the Catholic University of America and associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies. Everyone roots for the underdog, yet nobody seems to like Congress. […]

Read the full article →

Louis DeSipio and Rodolfo de la GarzaU.S. Immigration in the Twenty-First Century: Making Americans, Remaking America

April 12, 2015

In this week’s podcast, we hear from an author and an editor. First, Louis DeSipio and Rodolfo de la Garza are authors of U.S. Immigration in the Twenty-First Century: Making Americans, Remaking America (Westview Press, 2015). DeSipio is professor of political science and Chicano/Latino studies at University of California, Irvine; de la Garza is Eaton […]

Read the full article →

Caroline Lee, Michael McQuarrie, and Edward Walker, eds.Democratizing Inequalities: Dilemma of the New Public Participation

April 6, 2015

Caroline Lee, Michael McQuarrie, and Edward Walker are the editors of Democratizing Inequalities: Dilemma of the New Public Participation (NYU Press 2015). Lee is associate professor of sociology at Lafayette College, McQuarrie is associate professor of sociology at London School of Economics and Political Science, and Walker is associate professor of sociology at the University […]

Read the full article →

Aristotle TziampirisThe Emergence of Israeli-Greek Cooperation

March 30, 2015

Aristotle Tziampiris is The Emergence of Israeli-Greek Cooperation (Springer, 2015). Tziampiris is Associate Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for International and European Affairs at the Department of International and European Studies at the University of Piraeus. The recent fiscal debt crisis in Greece has drawn world attention to the country’s position […]

Read the full article →

Trygve ThrontveitWilliam James and the Quest for an Ethical Republic

March 27, 2015

William James (1842-1910) is one of the United States’ most far-reaching thinkers. His impact on philosophy, psychology, and religious studies is well documented, yet few scholars have considered James’ impact on the area of ethics and political thought. Trygve Throntveit’s new book William James and the Quest for an Ethical Republic (Palgrave, 2014) is a […]

Read the full article →