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The rise and fall of ‘propaganda’ as a positive concept: a digital reading of Swedish parliamentary records, 1867–2019
Department of Culture and Media Studies, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1167-046X
Humlab, Umeå University.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8820-1082
2023 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, E-ISSN 1502-7716, Vol. 48, no 3, p. 379-399Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Based on digital readings of all records from the Swedish parliament1867–2019, we examine how the concept ‘propaganda’ was used in the debates. To track the concept, we have extracted word window co-occurrences, bigrams, and keywords. Research on the history of propaganda in liberal democracies has emphasized that the meaning of the concept was open-ended before WWI. By 1945, it had been contaminated by authoritarian propaganda, and its negative connotations were cemented at least by the 1960s. Our analysis, however, shows that 'propaganda' was used mainly in a negative sense from 1867 to 2019. Nevertheless, it was also possible to use 'propaganda 'in a positive and neutral sense between the 1910s and 1980s. We suggest that a period of deideologization in Sweden post-WWII made it possible to use 'propaganda' as long as the issues were seen as non-controversial. The radicalization in the late-1960s meant that authorities and previously non-controversial issues became contested. To suggest one-directional 'propaganda' in order to implement what politicians had decided was in people's best interest became difficult int his context. In this new communication setting, 'information' was a more flexible term in contexts where ‘propaganda’ had previously been used in a neutral or positive sense.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2023. Vol. 48, no 3, p. 379-399
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-59048DOI: 10.1080/03468755.2022.2134202ISI: 000869151300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85139962210OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-59048DiVA, id: diva2:1748177
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2018-0606Available from: 2023-04-02 Created: 2023-04-02 Last updated: 2023-07-04Bibliographically approved

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Norén, Fredrik

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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