Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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Repost: FTR #93 The Science of Coercion II – Interview With Christopher Simpson

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

A follow-up to an interview conducted in October of 1997, this program continues the examination of the relationship between the U.S. psychological warfare establishment and American communication research as an academic discipline. Based on the material in Christopher Simpson’s book Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare; 1945-1960 (Oxford University Press; Copyright 1994), the interview focuses on the pivotal economic, political and intellectual effects that the National Security Establishment has had on communication research. With much of the funding for research in the social sciences coming from the military during the Cold War, U.S. communication research both drew from and contributed to psychological warfare. The relationship between them was so profound that, in effect, psychological warfare theory and practice became the foundation for communication research as a discipline. In addition to the impact of military funding, professional relationships formed during work for the U.S. psychological warfare program carried over into the civilian sector as well. The resultant “Old Boy” networks had a significant effect on communication research and the development of the media as well. Program highlights include: a discussion of Public Opinion Quarterly, its reflection of psychological warfare theory and practice and its role as an academic pillar of communication research; an analysis of “development theory,” a theoretical school of communication research which became embodied as a National Security doctrine as “limited” or “low-intensity” warfare; “Project Revere,” an Air Force study of “diffusion theory” which contributed significantly to the race to build strategic bombers; Wilber Schramm’s seminal career as a psychological warfare graduate who went on to shape much of contemporary communication theory; and the effect of U. S. psychological warfare programs on the development of the methodological “paradigm” of communication research.


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