Propaganda, Language, and the Media: the EU Εxperience

Despoina Kazana

EUJ218 Propaganda, Language, and the Media: the EU Εxperience


About This Course

Course Description

The current module examines the role of propaganda as a means of communication and persuasion. It focuses on the definitions, content, intent and methods of propaganda throughout the twentieth and twenty first century, and analyses the specific language used for propaganda purposes. It also investigates the relation of propaganda with modern mass communication and technology. The course will be structured around the interaction of
propaganda within several socio-political issues in EU. Such issues include political systems, election campaigns and fake news, warfare techniques and methods, healthcare and immunisation, planet pollution and politics. Particular attention will be paid to understanding the language of propaganda through a linguistic discourse analysis. A series of workshops aims to put theory into practice.

Course Objectives

  • Thoroughly present and analyse the notion of propaganda, through examining its theoretical background
  • Analyse the role and impact of propaganda within current affairs
  • Examine the specific language used for propagandistic purposes focusing on specific language features
  • Demonstrate the close relation between propaganda and modern mass media

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  1. Define propaganda, its theories and the various techniques associated with it
  2. Identify propaganda techniques within current affairs
  3. Recognise the linguistic features of propaganda used in the media and carry out a linguistic discourse analysis in several texts
  4. Analyse specific events in history using the ten-step plan of propaganda
  5. Comprehend how propaganda can be used within the media

Class/Learning activities:

The course includes a series of formal lectures, literature study, discussion exercises & group activities and presentations where students are expected to develop and demonstrate critical understanding and reasoning. Students are also required to write a final essay at the end of the semester.


Type of work Description Hours
Lectures Thirteen 3-hour lectures 39
Independent study Study of compulsory and optional literature 61
Research Online Research 40
Active Learning Student in-class exercises/summaries 30
Written assignments Mini in-class exercises, Research essay ((2500-3000 words), In-class presentations (individual or group presentations) 120
Total workload 290


Type of assessment Learning outcome Impact on final grade Date of assessment
Participation in group work and discussion 1-3 20% Regularly
Presentation of group work 2-4 30% 11th– 13th week
Written assignment (essay) 1-5 50% 13th week

Bibliography – required reading

    • Bahun, S. & Radunović, D. (2012). Language, Ideology, and the Human: New Interventions. In S. Bahun & D. Radunovi (Eds.). Routledge.
    • Black, J. (2011). Semantics and Ethics of Propaganda. Journal of Mass Media Ethics. 16(2-3), 121-137.
    • Ford, N. A. (1967). Language in uniform: a reader on propaganda. Odyssey Press.
    • Herman, E. S. & Chomsky, N. (1988). Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon.
    • Jenks, J. (2006). British Propaganda and News Media in the Cold War. Edinburgh: University Press.
    • Jowett, G. S., & O’Donnell, V. (2015). Propaganda & Persuasion (2nd ed.). Sage Publications.
    • Kamalipour, Y. R. (2004). War, Media, and Propaganda: A Global Perspective. In Y. R. Kamalipour & N. Snow, (Eds). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    • Klaehn, Jeffery 2002. A Critical Review and Assessment of Herman and Chomsky’s ‘Propaganda Model. European Journal of Communication. 17(2): 147–82.
    • Marlin, R. (2013). Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion. Broadview Press.
    • Miller, D., (2004) Tell me lies: propaganda and media distortion in the attack on Iraq. London: Pluto Press.
    • Oyedokun-Alli, W.A. (2013). A Linguistic Exploration of Propaganda in Advertising in Nigeria. Journal of the Linguistic Association of Nigeria. Volume 16(1 & 2), 63-72.
    • Pratkanis, A & Aronson, E. (2001). Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
    • Shabo, M. E. (2010). Techniques of Propaganda and Persuasion. Prestwick House Inc.
    • Sproule. J. M. (1997). Propaganda and Democracy: The American Experience of Media and Mass Persuasion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Stanley, J. (2015). How Propaganda Works. Princeton University Press.