Saturday, April 16, 2011

Capitalism, a Love Story & The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: Propaganda

Both movies are excellent, especially The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The concept of propaganda is usually misunderstood by students, especially Brazilian ones, because the word "propaganda" in Portuguese means Advertisement. That is why I decided to have this post right after the previous one - Advertising.

Divide the class in half. S1 reads the explanation given by the site to explain PROPAGANDA.

Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine. I am aware that the word "propaganda" carries to many minds an unpleasant connotation. Yet whether, in any instance, propaganda is good or bad depends upon the merit of the cause urged, and the correctness of the information published.

S2 read the explanation given by the site:

Propaganda is an enigma that has defied historians to this day. Its definition is broad and it affects every aspect of life and has been used since ancient times.Not all propaganda is hateful and it is not good or bad (per se). It is manipulation and deceit in whatever manner that may be. It could be through radio, films, newspapers, magazines, posters, rallies, public speeches, staged demonstrations, protests or whatever other outlet is available. It can be as simple as a commercial by a politician attempting to sway his audience to vote for him or it could be as complex as the institution of the Hitler Youth and the state-controlled churches of Nazi Germany. Propaganda can be described and defined in many ways, but one aspect of it remains constant: It is a distortion of truth or an outright lie and it is the most powerful political and social tool ever employed.

II. Pair up S1s with S2s. Students tell each other what they understood from the explanation, examples or anything else they can remember. Then they decide what there is in common and what is different from each other's passages.

III. Now watch the segments from the movies Capitalism: a Love Story and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Then answer these questions about both segments.

1. What is the propaganda in the segments?

2.How do you know it is propaganda?

3. How effective is it?

4. What are the principles or messages behind it?

5. What do both segments have in common?

6. How different are they?

7. How different is propaganda and advertisement?

8. Do you think that advertisements can be propaganda too? Explain it.





  1. Hi Claudio, please, what extension have you used to the segments? I downloaded but it doesn't open and I would really love to use this exercise with my students, if you allow me. Kiss

  2. Please, try the link again. It has been fixed.

  3. Hi there again. Capitalism- A Love Stoey yes, working now but, The Boy in a Sripped ...not yet. Sorry. Is it possible to fix it? Thanks so much for your attention.

  4. You're right. It has been fixed. Try again, please.