In the various editions and revisions of Keywords, the celebrated literary and cultural theorist Raymond Williams’s exploration of the history and current usage of more than a 100 of the most important words in the English language, propaganda is not included. This is not the same as saying it is not considered; it is, however, not thought to be of such significance as to warrant a discussion of its own. That omission, given his interest in the relationship between culture, media, and society and the role propaganda has played in that in the history of the 20th century, seems surprising. Its absence from Williams’s list of key words may, however, reflect the disturbing connotation with which it was then, and is still, commonly associated.

Etymologically, propaganda ...

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