Science of Coercion Communication Research and Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960 - Christopher Simpson
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Science of Coercion Communication Research and Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960  - Christopher Simpson

Written by Christopher Simpson
Format(s): PDF
Language: English

Publication Date: March 14, 1996 | ISBN-10: 0195102924 | ISBN-13: 978-0195102925 | Edition: 1ST
Science of Coercion provides the first thorough examination of the role of the CIA, the Pentagon, and other U.S. security agencies in the evolution of modern communication research, a field in the social sciences which crystallized into a distinct discipline in the early 1950s. Government-funded psychological warfare programs underwrote the academic triumph of preconceptions about communication that persist today in communication studies, advertising research, and in counterinsurgency operations.

Christopher Simpson contends that it is unlikely that communication research could have emerged into its present form without regular transfusions of money from U.S military, intelligence, and propaganda agencies during the Cold War. These agencies saw mass communication as an instrument for persuading or dominating targeted groups in the United States and abroad; as a tool for improving military operations; and perhaps most fundamentally, as a means to extend the U.S. influence more widely than ever before at a relatively modest cost. Communication research, in turn, became for a time the preferred method for testing and developing such techniques. Science of Coercion uses long-classified documents to probe the contributions made by prominent mass communication researchers such as Wilbur Schramm, Ithiel de Sola Pool, and others, then details the impact of psychological warfare projects on widely held preconceptions about social science and the nature of communication itself.

A fascinating case study in the history of science and the sociology of knowledge, Science of Coercion offers valuable insights into the dynamics of ideology and the social psychology of communication.


"An intriguing picture of the relations between state power and the intellectual community...."--Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"An original and important contribution...."--Science

About the Author

Christopher Simpson is Associate Professor of Communication at American University. His other books include Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis & its Effect on the Cold War (1987), The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law & Genocide in the 20th Century (1993), and National Security Directives of the Reagan and Bush Administrations 1981-1991 (1995). He is the recipient of six national and international awards for historical writing, literature, and investigative reporting. His work has appeared in the Journal of Communication, Intelligence and National Security, and many other magazines and journals.

Product Details

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 1ST edition (March 14, 1996)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0195102924
ISBN-13: 978-0195102925

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