Propaganda in Soviet Russia

Woolston, Howard 1932. Propaganda in Soviet Russia. American Journal of Sociology 38(1): 32-40.

Two years ago the writer found plenty of evidence. Red flags, censored newspapers, direct excursions, indoctrinated schools, motivated plays, didactic pictures, and continuous radio message preach communism. Appeals to the need for security and class loyalty, dogmatic assertion of Marxian philosophy, the example of leaders, and calls to participation are used as incentives to action. The results are a new orthodoxy, rigid partizanship, and a mechanical order of life. This policy was necessary to move ignorant masses to accomplish results within a short time. ALthough similar methods are used in other countries, the divergent aim of Societ propaganda arouses our antagonism. (Woolston 1932: 32)
Actually pretty good phraseology, hooks up nicely with both Orwell and Huxley. But I do find it odd that similar methods are used in ohter countries and only the Soviet are singled out.
This constant presentation of only one aspect of life may fairly be called systematic deception. Although not peculiar to Russia, it is not the avowed policy of many so-called popular governments. The Bolsheviki believe this is necessary to maintain morale. That is characteristic of the psychological conflict. (Woolston 1932: 33)
Ah, yes, the one-sidedness.
Another example of the same motivation is shown in parallel exhbits of proletariat and bourgeois culture in the Ethnographic Museum of Leningrad. On the one hand is traced the hard lot of peasants and industrial workers until their liberation by the Revolution. On the other side the growing wealth and power of landlords, merchants, and manufacturers is illustrated by the furnishings of their homes at different periods until their downfall. The logic of this skilful contrast is inescapable. It states more clearly than words the fundamental text of Bolshevism - the exploiters must be dispossessed if the workers are to live. (Woolston 1932: 33)
There are surprisingly Lotmanian notions like "explosion" and "text" in this piece.
Classes, clubs, and occupational groups reiterate Marxian precepts concerning proletarian leadership until the ideas become fixed in the minds of members. (Woolston 1932: 34)
Hypnopaedia and duckspeak.
From Contantinople to Stockholm the air throbs with a barrage of soviet radio messages. Our hotel room in Leningrad faced upon an open square, where a loud speaker functioned from six in the morning until eleven at night. Occasionally a song or dialogue was transmitted. For the most part it was a continuous flow of oratory. The porter said it had to do with labor and politics. We changed our room, remarking that this constant repetition of communist doctrine must either fix its phraseology subconsciously, or else develop a strong negative reaciton. (Woolston 1932: 36)
Reminiscent of telescreens.
Then began a period of bitter class struggle. The organized proletariat was only a minority. The masses must be brought to accept its dictatorship. How were people attached to the new order? Primarily by emotional appeal. The "pathos of revolution" was effectively used among those who had suffered during the tsarist régime and had struggled to win release. Many of these persons gained security and status. Such instances served to rouse a sentiment of loyalty to the leaders. Among those who hesitated to follow, fear of exposure and punishment was a powerful incentive to compliance. The danger of foreign intervention, with the prolonged horror of continued fighting, was sufficient to keep most citizens in line. (Woolston 1932: 37)
Yup, 1984.
What has been the collective response to this stirring appeal? First, a new orthodoxy has been established. Marx is the Moses of Communism, and Lenin is his mouthpiece. Historic materialism, class warfare, a proletarian leadership are assumed as foundations of common thought and action. This attitude is held to be the only realistic and scientific way to approach problems of modern life. Idealism, romanticism, bourgeois morality are scorned as antiquated and absurd modes of thought. "Man is a product of his environment. Institutions are forms maintained by those in authority. Opinion reflects the economy of the group." Such is the latest revelation of truth. All other statements are dangerous errors. We seem to hear a muezzin calling the faithful to worship. (Woolston 1932: 38)
Big Brother and thoughtcrime.

Buller, David B. and Judee K. Burgoon 1996. Interpersonal Deception Theory. Communication Theory 6(3): 203-242.

Communication is founded on a presumption of truth. In practice, however, communicators frequently decide that honesty is not the best policy. Job applicants overstate their qualifications to make a favorable impression, spouses lie to minimize relational conflict, students claim purchased term papers as their own work, politicians misrepresent their actions to the media, and public officials conceal their true motives to representatives of foreign governments. In short, deception and suspected deception arise in at least one quarter of all conversations. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 203)
Seems legit.
Interpersonal communication, at its simplest, can be defined as the dynamic exchange of messages between two (or more) people. Interpersonal communication may or may not be interactive: To the extent that it entails synchronous rather than delayed turn exchanges and opportunities for immediate feedback and mutual influence, it is interactive. We recognize that scholars disagree on whether interpersonal communication must also be dyadic, face-to-face, unmediated, idiosyncratic or "personal" in character, so we prefer to start with a more neutral, noncontroversial definition. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 205)
General definitions are always good to be abreast of.
Deception is defined as message knowingly transmitted by a sender to foster a false belief or conclusion by the receiver. More specifically, deception occurs when communicators control the information contained in their messages to convey a meaning that departs from the truth as they know it. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 205)
In this line of thought self-communciation is all about deception, although "truth as one knows it" is vague.
Another essential feature of interpersonal communication is that it is a dynamic actvity. Behavioral patterns fluctuate over time as communicators adjust to one another's feedback, acclimate to the communication context, and change topics. The implication for interpersonal deception is that a uniform deceptive profile is unlikely, as behavioral displays at the outset of deception differ from those exhibited later. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 206)
Communication is progressive.
Credibility refers to the constellation of judgments that message recipients make about the believability of a communicator. Foremost among these are character (how honest, trustworhy, responsible, and well intentioned a person is), competence (how knowledgeable, intelligent, experienced, and current a communicator is), composure (how poised, relaxed, and calm the individual is), sociability (how talkative, energetic, outgoing, and assertive a communicator is) (see McCroskey, 1972; cf. McCroskey & Young, 1981). (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 207)
I have only begun to consider composure, other ones seem important as well.
Interaction and Information-Processing Assumptions. The critical attribtues of interpersonal communication describe a complex process requiring actors to perform numerous perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral tasks concurrently. As senders, communicators must simultaneously prduce messages on-line, create desired identities and impressions, adjust ancillary nonverbal and verbal elements to send appropriate relational messages, monitor self and receiver feedback, adapt messages to this feedback, and regulate the pacing, turn taking, and synchrony of conversation itself. Likewise, as receivers they must cope with the ongoing, rapidly changing stream of information, determine the functions of messages, make sense of incongruent or ambiguous ones, and make interpretations rapidly enough to create a response. Thus, conducting interpersonal interaction demands cognitive (as well as physical) effor. The amount of effort can vary based on the conversational context; number, type and consistentcy of messages; number and type of goals; and clarity of meaning. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 208)
Neat. What these authors call information-processing, we would call semiosis.
The inherency of interpersonal expectations implies in turn that expectancies can be violated and that violations are recognized. In this vein, we import from expectancy violations theory (Burgoon, 1978, 1993) three further assumptions: Interactants recognize violations of expectations, violations prompt an attentional shift to the communicator and the violative act, and violations activate an interpretive and evaluative appraisal process. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 209)
These people have given a name to every possible theory, it seems. Even though these ideas existed before, they put a stamp on it that says "this is mine".
Information management is a fundamental aspect of human communication. In extraordinary and mundane circumstances, people manage their communication to present certain information while hiding, obscuring, evading, or creating other information. Specifically, deceivers control information by encoding messages that alter veracity, completeness, directness/relevance, clarity, and personalization. (Burgoon, Buller, Guerrero, Afifi, & Feldman, 1994) (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 209)
Sounds like Winston when he worries that his pulse might give him away to the telescreens.
All else being equal, then, interpersonal deception and its detection should require more cognitive resources than truthful interchanges. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 210)
Seems obvious, but now I have a reference.
Another imortant feature of relational familiarity is a shared history with the partner. This produces two types of knowledge: informational familiarity, which is background information about partners, and behavioral familiarity, which includes knowledge of partners' typical behavioral routines. Both of these forms of familiarity typically are derived from a history of prior interactions. Informational familiarity may be acquired from third parties, and behavioral familiarity can contain knowledge about prototypical deception cues gained through training or experience. Greater informational and behavioral familarity should enable receivers to better recognize departures from typical behavior. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 214)
Matters of the baseline.
Another assumption in our perspective is that deception, like all interpersonal communication, is a goal-driven, intentional act. At the most general level, senders deceive to achieve instrumental, relational, and identity objectives. Instrumental motivations include establishing, maximizing, and maintaining power or influence over the receiver, acquiring and protecting resources, avoiding dissonance, being entertained, avoiding punishment or disapproval, and attempting to harm the target for self-gain. Common moral values usually treat self-serving deception as most reprehensible. Relational motivations consist of initiating, maintaining, maximizing, or terminating relationships; avoiding interpersonal tension or conflict; maintaining and redirecting social interaction; expressing obligatory acceptance; avoiding self-disclosure, avoiding partner from worry, hurt, or punishment; and conforming to relational role expectations. Identity motivations include avoiding shame or embarrassment, projecting a more favorable image, enhancing or protecting self-esteem, and icnreasing social desirability. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 216)
This is where IDT becomes useful for my purposes.
Zuckerman et al. (1981) also argued that attempts at controlling one's performance also produced inadvertent behavior leaking deceptive intent. We have expanded on this notion in IDT by specifically arguing that strategic image and behavior management, if carried to extremes, may result in an overcontrolled or rigid presentation, inexpressiveness, and reduced spontaneity, which qualify as nonstrategic behaviors. Similarly, as the complexity of strategic activity increases, performances may suffer. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 217)
I feel this has happened to me as a byproduct of studying nonverbal communication.
Thus, relative to noninteractive contexts, deceivers' strategic maneuvers in increasingly interacting contexts should attenuate much of the nonimmediacy, nervousness, and unpleasantness associated with deception and should also result in a somewhat stilted, inexpressive, and uninvolved communication style. (Buller & Burgoon 1996: 220)
Sounds like grim enjoyment and quiet optimism in Orwell.

Ferrell, Lori Anne 2008. How-To Books, Protestant Kinetics, and the Art of Theology. Huntington Library Quarterly 71(4): 591-606.

The early modern counterparts of the Complete Idiot’s Guide and For Dummies series were the texts of “ready and easy method” that proliferated by the dozen and claimed a similar popular appeal in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in England. The years 1560 to 1640 witnessed the swift development of the relationship between vernacular how-to books—these engines of the early modern information revolution—and an emergent class of learners on whom skilled knowledge conferred a new sense of power. (Ferrell 2008: 591)
Interesting stuff, although reference to "a new sense of power" seems dubious.
Whether in luxury folio or cheap quarto, their prefaces spoke directly to a non-Latinate class. They enticed their vernacular readers with the promise of insider knowledge, extolled the usefulness of the information they purveyed, and touted the merits of their newly devised methods—especially the capacity of those methods to impart information accessibly and swiftly. They frequently ascribed this pedagogical effectiveness to the material formatting of their contents. (Ferrell 2008: 593)
This is very much the case with modern how-to books, especially the "insider" aspect. E.g. Joe Navarro presenting himself as "an ex-FBI agent".
The physicality of reading has recently captured the interest of cultural historians. In The Nature of the Book (1998), Adrian Johns analyzes the way early modern individuals thought about the act of reading and about reading’s effect on what they called “the passions.” Citing Roger Chartier’s concept of the mise en page, Johns describes readers whose intensely physical approach to the act meant that they read themselves into the scenery of books, imagining themselves as residing physically within the world created by the book. They saw themselves as not only embodied in, but also shaped by, the environment constructed by the mental and physical alliance of a book and its reader. (Ferrell 2008: 596)
Wow, this might indeed come in handy when compared with the mise en scène.
The relationship of tactility and learning was expounded in one popular treatise of 1644, John Bulwer’s Chirologia. This treatise would seem at first glance to be a primer on rhetorical movement, explaining the “natural language of the hand” by illustrating and analyzing the many gestures used in public speaking, preaching, and acting: popular enough subjects in an age of eloquence. Bulwer extended his brief, however, making some notable claims about hands-on acquisition of knowledge. The hand, he asserted, was the key to human understanding: the “chief . . . warden” of the senses through which men perceived and interpreted their worlds. Touch, then—neither sight nor hearing—ultimately guaranteed the truths of observation. (Ferrell 2008: 596-597)
Very helpful in terms of phraseology.
Bulwer posits an audience of doubting Thomases. One of the curious icons on Chirologia’s title page depicts a hand with an eye in its palm (see figure 3). This figure, the mens oculata, emblematized “the certainty of things.” The “feeling eye of the hand” symbolized the need to have ideas rendered in material form, and for those ideas to be verified by the power of touch. And indeed, the early modern use of the word “apprehend” closely followed its Latin predecessor apprehensio and so meant both “to grasp” an object and “to cognize” an idea. To the left of the mens oculata is a clenched fist marked Scientia, about which Bulwer explains: “it is the first use of the hand to take hold,” a remark that not only explains the rhetorical message conveyed by a grasping hand but also suggests just how tangible ideas were to the early modern mind. (Ferrell 2008: 597)
I cannot think of any practical use for this information but it is nevertheless neat to know.
While scholarship on theatrical gesture and theories of the body abounds in early modern studies, as well as excellent studies of medieval and early modern educative practices and Roman Catholic ritual, works on Protestantism that consider its dependence on the kinetics or tactility of learning are virtually nonexistent. In fact, historical and theological investigations of early modern Protestantism, then and now, have rarely considered the Protestant body as a primary site for anything — except, of course, sin. (Ferrell 2008: 597)
This belongs under the heading "religious denial of the body."


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