Harold Lasswell

American political scientist and communications theorist.

- Harold Lasswell

73 related topics



Communication that is primarily used to influence or persuade an audience to further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is being presented.

Destroy this Mad Brute: Enlist, propaganda poster encouraging men in the United States to enlist and fight Germany as part of WWI, by Harry R. Hopps, c. 1917
Poster depicting Winston Churchill as a "British Bulldog"
A 1918 Finnish propaganda leaflet signed by General Mannerheim circulated by the Whites urging the Reds to surrender during the Finnish Civil War. [To the residents and troops of Tampere! Resistance is hopeless. Raise the white flag and surrender. The blood of the citizen has been shed enough. We will not kill like the Reds kill their prisoners. Send your representative with a white flag.]
A propaganda newspaper clipping that refers to the Bataan Death March in 1942
Poster of the 19th-century Scandinavist movement
Poster in a North Korean primary school targeting the United States military. The Korean text reads: "Are you playing the game of catching these guys?".
Woodcuts (1545) known as the Papstspotbilder or Depictions of the Papacy in English, by Lucas Cranach, commissioned by Martin Luther. Title: Kissing the Pope's Feet. German peasants respond to a papal bull of Pope Paul III. Caption reads: "Don't frighten us Pope, with your ban, and don't be such a furious man. Otherwise we shall turn around and show you our rears."
A US Office for War Information poster uses anti-Japanese imagery to encourage Americans to work hard to contribute to the war effort
Britannia arm-in-arm with Uncle Sam symbolizes the British-American alliance in World War I.
World War I propaganda poster for enlistment in the U.S. Army
Propaganda and manipulation can be found in television, and in news programs that influence mass audiences. An example was the Dziennik (Journal) news cast, which criticised capitalism in the then-communist Polish People's Republic using emotive and loaded language.
Anti-capitalist propaganda
Public reading of the anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer, Worms, Germany, 1935
A 1938 propaganda of the New State depicting Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas flanked by children. The text reads "Children! Learning, at home and in school, the cult of the Fatherland, you will bring all chances of success to life. Only love builds and, strongly loving Brazil, you will lead it to the greatest of destinies among Nations, fulfilling the desires of exaltation nestled in every Brazilian heart."

Harold Lasswell provided a broad definition of the term propaganda, writing it as: “the expression of opinions or actions carried out deliberately by individuals or groups with a view to influencing the opinions or actions of other individuals or groups for predetermined ends and through psychological manipulations.” Garth Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell theorize that propaganda and persuasion are linked as humans use communication as a form of soft power through the development and cultivation of propaganda materials.


Deliberate system of guidelines to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes.

Example of the policy cycle concept.
Balsillie School of International Affairs at the CIGI Campus
Blavatnik School of Government building

It was developed as a theory from Harold Lasswell's work.

Communication theory

Proposed description of communication phenomena, the relationships among them, a storyline describing these relationships, and an argument for these three elements.

Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication

Prominent historical and modern foundational communication theorists include Kurt Lewin, Harold Lasswell, Paul Lazarsfeld, Carl Hovland, James Carey, Elihu Katz, Kenneth Burke, John Dewey, Jurgen Habermas, Marshall McLuhan, Theodor Adorno, Antonio Gramsci, Robert E. Park, George Herbert Mead, Joseph Walther, Claude Shannon and Stuart Hall—although some of these theorists may not explicitly associate themselves with communication as a discipline or field of study.

American Political Science Association

Professional association of political science students and scholars in the United States.

American Political Science Association headquarters located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Harold D. Lasswell, 1955-1956

Gabriel Almond

American political scientist best known for his pioneering work on comparative politics, political development, and political culture.

He attended the University of Chicago, both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student, and worked with Harold Lasswell.

World Academy of Art and Science

International non-governmental scientific organization and global network of more than 800 scientists, artists, and scholars in more than 90 countries.

Leadership in thought that leads to action

6) Harold Lasswell

The Garrison State

The Garrison State is a concept first introduced in a seminal, highly influential and cited 1941 article originally published in the American Journal of Sociology by political scientist and sociologist Harold Lasswell.

Content analysis

Study of documents and communication artifacts, which might be texts of various formats, pictures, audio or video.

A page of a birth register for Jews from 1859

The political scientist Harold Lasswell formulated the core questions of content analysis in its early-mid 20th-century mainstream version: "Who says what, to whom, why, to what extent and with what effect?".

Robert D. Putnam

American political scientist specializing in comparative politics.

Putnam in 2006

Other fellowships included the Guggenheim 1988–1989; the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 1977 and 1979; Fulbright 1964–1965 and 1977; SSRC-ACLS 1966–1968; Ford Foundation, 1970; German Marshall Fund, 1979; SSRC-Fulbright, 1982; SSRC-Foreign Policy Studies, 1988–1989 and was made a Harold Lasswell Fellow by the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

National security

Security and defence of a sovereign state, including its citizens, economy, and institutions, which is regarded as a duty of government.

President of the United States Ronald Reagan in a briefing with US National Security Council staff on the Libya bombing on 15 April 1986
Security measures are taken to protect the Palace of Westminster in London, UK. The heavy blocks of concrete are designed to prevent a car bomb or other device being rammed into the building.
The SUPO headquarters in Punavuori, Helsinki
Refugees fleeing war and insecurity in Iraq and Syria arrive at Lesbos Island, supported by Spanish volunteers, 2015
A US fighter jet over a burning oil well in Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War, 1991
The National Security Agency harvests personal data across the internet.

"The distinctive meaning of national security means freedom from foreign dictation." (Harold Lasswell, 1950)