Propaganda and Image: The construction of myth

How is the image used in propaganda? How is a mythical image constructed, whether this be a political figure or a product? How “new” is propaganda and how does it work?
These are only a few questions that are being explored in this research essay that was my MA thesis in the field of Visual Communication Studies. In this essay I attempt to explore how a mythical image is constructed and consumed in the context of modern and contemporary propaganda. For this reason, I examine two iconic case studies of the modern and contemporary time. The first, concerns the Nazi propaganda as iconic example of modern political propaganda and how Hitler’s image was constructed until it reached the mythical status of “Fuehrer” (leader). The second, concerns a very successful contemporary advertising campaign for Cape Times that uses iconic mythical images reimagined as “selfies”.

In both cases, and following a short historical examination of the terms propaganda, image and myth, the interplay between myth and history seems to be the underlying dynamic that has determined -at least in the case of Nazi propaganda- the course of history and led to a devastating war. Today, with the digitisation of history and art, how are images used for advertising purposes and how is the historical dimension affected through this process? Is semiotics an adequate critical tool for the analysis of contemporary examples? These very important and current matters are highlighted through the examination of the contemporary advertising campaign.

Full text is available in pdf below in Greek, as well as, an extended summary in English. The references for the visual material can be found at the end of the greek text.

Προπαγάνδα και Εικόνα: Η κατασκευή του μύθου (full text in greek, pdf)

Propaganda and Image: The construction of myth (extended summary in EN, pdf)

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