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

[1]Lis­ten:
MP3 Side 1 [2] | Side 2 [3]
RealAu­dio [4]

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.