SIU Department Name | Page Title

siu logo siupress logo

SIU logo


Main Content Area

Propaganda and Rhetoric in Democracy

Propaganda and Rhetoric in Democracy

History, Theory, Analysis

Add to Cart

Edited by Gae Lyn Henderson and M. J. Braun Foreword by Charles Bazerman


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
7 illustrations


Additional Materials

  • Media Kit

Media Kit


About the Book

The study of propaganda’s uses in modern democracy highlights important theoretical questions about normative rhetorical practices. Is rhetoric ethically neutral? Is propaganda? How can facticity, accuracy, and truth be determined? Do any circumstances justify misrepresentation? Edited by Gae Lyn Henderson and M. J. Braun, Propaganda and Rhetoric in Democracy: History, Theory, Analysis advances our understanding of propaganda and rhetoric. Essays focus on historical figures—Edward Bernays, Jane Addams, Kenneth Burke, and Elizabeth Bowen—examining the development of the theory of propaganda during the rise of industrialism and the later changes of a mass-mediated society. Modeling a variety of approaches, case studies in the book consider contemporary propaganda and analyze the means and methods of propaganda production and distribution, including broadcast news, rumor production and globalized multimedia, political party manifestos, and university public relations.

Propaganda and Rhetoric in Democracy offers new perspectives on the history of propaganda, explores how it has evolved during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and advances a much more nuanced understanding of what it means to call discourse propaganda.


Gae Lyn Henderson, an associate professor at Utah Valley University, has received the Elizabeth A. Flynn Award for her writing. She has published articles in Rhetoric Society Quarterly and Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service-Learning

M. J. Braun is a retired professor from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She is a coeditor of Entertaining Fear: Rhetoric and the Political Economy of Social Control and has authored numerous articles.

Contributors include Laural Lea Adams, Catherine Chaput, Patricia Dunmire, Lanette Grate, Jayson Harsin, Thomas Huckin, Robert Jensen, Sharon J. Kirsch, Meg H. Kunde, John Oddo, Stefania Porcelli, and Gary Thompson.


“Finally! Propaganda studies, so grounded in persuasion, has been missing the voice of rhetoricians for a long time now while social psychologists, political scientists, and philosophers debated propaganda's mechanics, effects, and ethics. The editors have gathered an impressive collection of thinkers whose expertise as rhetoricians complicates and extends our understanding of propaganda generally, and also allows for a sharp focus on the dangers that propaganda presents to functioning democracies. Much of the material in these chapters is terrifying. Fortunately the writing is brave and smart throughout.”—Seth Kahn, coeditor of Activism and Rhetoric: Theories and Contexts for Political Engagement

“This superb collection consists of original articles by current scholars, most within Rhetoricians for Peace, a caucus of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, whose members for over a decade have been dedicated to the critique of propaganda in war and other realms of political discourse. Timely essays include ‘A Taxonomy of Bullshit,’ ‘Popular Economics: Neoliberal Propaganda and Its Affectivity,’ ‘Privatized Propaganda and Broadcast News,’ and ‘Writing Dissent in the Propaganda Flood.’ The book marks an admirable step toward the vital goal of placing critical analysis of propaganda in the forefront of humanistic education, especially in writing courses.”—Donald Lazere, author of Political Literacy in Composition and Rhetoric