“Order Out of Chaos”

Lawrence R. Samuel

in The Oxford Handbook of Propaganda Studies

Published in print December 2013 | ISBN: 9780199764419
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

“Order Out of Chaos”

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This essay examines how and why certain propagandist theories and techniques took root in Europe and America between the 1930s and the 1950s. Over the course of these three decades, a unique set of forces came together to forge a communications and cultural landscape that was heavily propagandist in both character and influence. Although their goals were dramatically different, Nazi fascist propaganda of the 1930s and early 1940s and American advertising and consumer culture of the 1950s had a lot more in common than one might (and might like to) think. Each was a dedicated and concerted effort to, as Edward Bernays neatly expressed it, "bring order out of chaos," the two sharing deep roots in Freudian psychoanalytic theory.

Keywords: Propaganda; Nazis; fascism; advertising; consumer culture; Bernays; Freud; psychoanalysis

Article.  8468 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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