Propaganda and counter-terrorism

Strategies for global change

This book analyses the evolving Anglo-American counter-terror propaganda strategies that spanned the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as reconstruction, between 2001 and 2008. It offers insights into the transformation beyond this period, tracking many key developments as much as possible up to the time of writing (2013) and providing a retrospective on the 'war on terror'. Using empirical data located within multiple spheres, the book draws on sociology, political science and international relations, developing an interdisciplinary analysis of political communication in the international system. It shows how media technologies presented legal, structural and cultural problems for what were seen as rigid propaganda systems defined by their emergence in an old media system of sovereign states with stable target audiences. Propaganda successes and advances were an inconsistent by-product both of malfunction and of relationships, cultures and rivalries, both domestically and between the partners. The differing social relations of planners and propagandists to wider society create tensions within the 'machine', however leaders may want it to function. The book demonstrates that the 'messy' nature of bureaucracy and international systems as well as the increasingly fluid media environment are all important in shaping what actually happens. In a context of initial failures in formal coordination, the book stresses the importance of informal relationships to planners in the propaganda war. This situated Britain in an important yet precarious position within the Anglo-American propaganda effort, particularly in Iraq.

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‘Propaganda and Counter-terrorism is an important read, if not always an easy one due to the sheer breadth of source material and depth of analysis contained within. This is valuable and makes the book a heavyweight in its field. Readers who persevere to the end will gain a host of new insights and intersections relating to the role of propaganda both now and in the future; essential understanding in the current climate.'
Samantha North - Narratives for social and political change
January 2017

‘Simply put, this is the single best book I have ever encountered about propaganda and information operations, bar none. Dr. Briant shared with me that it took ten years to write the book, and it shows. Her attention to detail is mind-boggling at times.'
Joel Harding
May 2016

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