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In War, Propaganda, and the Mass Media

Editor: Giorgos Plios
Athens: Polytropo



Even though the research on the non-verbal forms of communication used in propaganda and persuasion is well developed, it includes music only in very rare cases. Too general, vague and brief statements and too few - if any - references are usually met in the literature. Normally, the analyses do not get into the details to illuminate these particular functions and uses of music.

Exploring the relation between music and propaganda, this chapter focuses precisely on this shortcoming in the sociology of music and communication studies. Distancing itself from the oversimplifying structuralist view about the recording industry as an ideological mechanism, from the gatekeeping theory, and from certain classical models of communication and audience theories, this study examines both aspects of music, i.e., as an audible result and in terms of the functions of the institutions for its production, distribution and reception. In terms of the first aspect, this study discusses the relation between music and propaganda focusing on the communicative aspects of music in a perspective defined by the framing theory. This perspective is already known in the sociological research of music in particular and of the arts in general. In terms of the second aspect, the chapter discusses the relation among music, propaganda, and persuasion taking into account the functions of the recording industry within the broader system of mass communication institutions, where convergence and synergy among different media and structures are observed. The analysis focuses also on the relation between music and politics, particularly in times of crisis, tension, and conflicts.