Propaganda, PR and Misinformation


This module examines the processes of framing and production of the mass mediation of propaganda.


Analyse the propaganda text as socio-cultural narratives rooted in the political histories of nation states. Give critical reflection to propaganda effects on target populations, audiences and consumers.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Understand and critique the processes of production, representation and reception of propaganda forms.

2.  Critically analyse and reflect on the propaganda text as narrative tropes bound in social, cultural and political histories.

3.  Understand and critically evaluate the relationships between propaganda and its mediation, mediation and audiences, and propaganda, media and corporate and state power.

4.  Critically evaluate the role of the media in targeting the individual as a source of (ir)rational action.

Indicative Content

1 The Historical Emergence of Modern Propaganda Forms

The historical development of propaganda forms, rhetorics, tropes and ideology.

2 The Analysis of Propaganda

Frameworks and models for analysing and researching propaganda including textual analysis, semiotics, historical archaeology.

3 Propaganda and Mass Media

Mass media as means of the organisation, production and circulation of propaganda, focussing on the propaganda techniques of the Third Reich.

4 Propaganda, Narrative and Myth

Structural analysis of narrative and myth/ideological systems and their representation as propaganda.

5 Public Relations & Propaganda

This section of the module considers what the Public Relations guru, Edward Bernays, referred to as ¿propaganda for peace¿. Illustrative topics covered include: the individual as the target of the mass media, the rise of public relations, consumerism, ¿the engineering of consent¿, psychoanalysis and the manipulation desires, generating opinions in the media, focus groups and lifestyles, the rise of the brand, visual culture and product aesthetics.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Students are taught through a mixture of lectures and seminars. Tutorial and seminar classes are based around reading for, and preparing, a discussion paper for the subsequent class. Students are required to come to the class with a set of notes based around a prior series of questions to be disseminated online. Classes then proceed on the basis of discussion and dialogue framed by the tutor, but led by students. Seminars seek to develop students research skills, critical skills, oral and communicative skills, listening and reasoning skills. The promotion of these skills seeks to enhance and develop those attributes of intellectual, professional and active citizenship. Assessment is through a 1000-word Case Study (CWK1) and a 2000-word essay (CWK2).

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 10
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 30
Independent 136

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.