1st Edition

Media Tactics in the Long Twentieth Century

    296 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Integrating media studies with history, Media Tactics in the Long Twentieth Century explores the dynamic relationship between tactics and strategies in recent history.

    Drawing on examples from a range of different countries and world regions, and looking at the infrastructures, entanglements, and institutions involved, the volume makes a strong case for media tactics as a new field of scholarly inquiry and for the importance of a historically informed approach. In contrast to strategic communication approaches, this media historical intervention contributes to new knowledge about the practical implementation of strategies. First foregrounding tactics as an object of study, the volume then counters the presentism of contemporary studies by adding a necessary historical perspective. Moreover, the book theoretically disentangles the concept of strategy – from an abstract contemporary buzzword to concrete, hands-on actions – which in turn reveals the complexity of using media strategies and media tactics in reality.

    This volume will interest scholars and students working in the field of media and communication in general, and in the subfields of strategic communication, public relations, media history, and propaganda studies.

    Introduction: Towards a History of Media Tactics

    Marie Cronqvist, Fredrik Mohammadi Norén & Emil Stjernholm

    Part 1: Entanglements

    Emigrant Colonialism and Transnational Communities: Scandinavian Cultural Diplomacy through Nationals Abroad

    Ruth Hemstad 

    Scientific Exchange as a Media Tactic: Creating “ever smaller worlds” through the Visit of Sir Lawrence Bragg to Sweden in 1943

    Edward Corse

    Where Can You See Striking Workers? Communist Media Networks, Documentary Film, and Regimes of (In)Visibility in the Early Cold War

    Lucie Česálková

    Broadcasting Agency in the Portuguese Empire: Disrupting the Dominant Discourse through Media Tactics

    Nelson Ribeiro

    Part 2: Institutions

    Supporting the Democratisation of Education and Anticolonialism in the Global South: The World Student News and Soviet Bloc Media Tactics in the 1970s

    Pia Koivunen

    The Paradox of Parliamentary Propaganda: Parliamentarians’ Individual Media Tactics versus Parliament’s Institutional Media Strategy

    Betto van Waarden

    Local Media Tactics: Municipal Information, Audio-Visual Media and the Roots of City Branding in Gothenburg (1973)

    Erik Florin Persson

    Revisiting ‘The CIA and the Media’: FOIA, Paperwork, and the Dialectic of (Media) Tactics and Strategies

    Dominique Trudel

    The Information-by-Proxy Strategy: Cultural Policy as a Media Tactic in Swedish Governmental Information

    Lars Diurlin & Fredrik Mohammadi Norén

    Part 3: Infrastructures

    Measuring Media Tactics to Improve Propaganda Strategies: The British Wartime Social Survey and ‘Publicity in Reverse’, 1941–45

    Brendan Maartens

    Window Tactics: Entangled Visual Propaganda in Neutral Sweden, 1939–1945

    Emil Stjernholm

    Communications Infrastructures and Cold War Politics: The Middle Eastern Theatre of the US/American Empire and Anti-American Coalitions

    Burçe Çelik

    Working their Cover: The CIA’s Forum World Features, Covert Propaganda Strategy, and News Tactics, 1966–1975

    John Jenks

    Propaganda -> Counterinsurgency -> Digital: A Brief History of Prediction and the Present

    Lee Grieveson

    Afterword: Toward a Tactical Turn?

    Marie Cronqvist, Fredrik Mohammadi Norén & Emil Stjernholm


    Marie Cronqvist is a Professor of Modern History at the Department of Culture and Society, Linköping University, Sweden. Her main research focus is Cold War culture, history of civil defence, information and preparedness, and transnational broadcasting. 

    Fredrik Mohammadi Norén is an Assistant Professor in Media and Communication Studies at Malmö University, Sweden. His research is geared toward media history, strategic communication, digital humanities and parliamentary history.

    Emil Stjernholm is an Assistant Professor in Media and Communication Studies at Lund University, Sweden. His main areas of research include media and communication history, digital methods, and visual communication.

    “The editors of Media Tactics in the Long Twentieth Century have shaken the concept of media tactics loose from the military, propaganda and strategic communication contexts they formerly belonged to. Instead they propose seeing media tactics and counter-tactics as a key to understanding media power. Their practice-based and historical approach is a genuinely innovative move. I believe that following the editors’ lead through this collection’s stimulating range of articles will be highly rewarding not only for media and other historians but for media and communications researchers more generally.”

    Espen Ytreberg, Professor of Media Studies at the Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo

    “This carefully curated collection provides a much-needed historical corrective to contemporary debates about strategic communication, reminding us of its long historical roots and many historical precedents, from propaganda and covert influence operations to public diplomacy. Inviting us to look beyond the neat designs of strategic communication, the contributors draw attention to the fascinating, messy world of media and communication ‘tactics’ and the many ways in which these tactics can expand, adapt, and sometimes subvert and resist strategic goals.”

    Sabina Mihelj, Professor of Media and Cultural Analysis at the School of Social Sciences, Loughborough University

     “This imaginative collection lays bare the ‘messy’ tactics that have underpinned the fundamentally key relationship between media and power around the world and over time. Occasionally there are no ‘rational’ or easily theorised explanations for why and how individuals, institutions, and governments react the way they do. Failure is often intrinsic to the process and there are uncomfortable truths to be faced. The dialectical relationship between ‘strategy’ and ‘tactic’ explored in several essays also raises interesting avenues for future research.”

    Chandrika Kaul, Professor of Modern History at the School of History, University of St Andrews