Jörg Becker: Journalism and media/communication studies under Hitler:
The example of Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann
University of Westminster
Harrow Campus (tube stop: Northwick Park, Metropolitan Line)
Wed, April 2, 2014
Registration at latest until Monday, March 31, by e-mail to
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It is generally known that propaganda played a crucial role in Germany
under Hitler. Concrete examples of journalism and media studies
conducted during this time in Nazi Germany are however far less known
and have hardly been analysed. In this talk, Jörg Becker sets out the
context of media and communications in Nazi Germany and discusses the
example of Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, who during the Nazi time was both a
media and public opinion researcher as well as a journalist.
Noelle-Neumann (1916-2010) has internationally mainly become known in
Media and Communication Studies for her approach of the spiral of silence.
The role she played in National Socialism has long been a blind spot of
research and public attention. New evidence shows that she was much more
involved in different Nazi activities as publicly known. Her engagement
with the Nazis had many consequences for the post World War II
situation. Until the early 1950s the US Government refused to grant her
an entry visa into the US but changed this negative attitude towards her
when they changed their politics from anti-Fascism to anti-Communism.
Inside Germany Noelle-Neumann's former Nazi-involvement had two
different results after 1945:
* With the support of her old Nazi network she was able to start her new
privately owned Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research;
* Old social-Darwinist and Nazi ideas from her 1940 PhD dissertation
could survive in her book on the spiral of silence in 1980.
In this talk, Jörg Becker analyses and uncovers the ideological
underpinnings of a person who was an important part of and major
influential figure in German and international Media and Communication
Studies after 1945.
Summary and review of Jörg Becker's German book about Noelle-Neumann:
Professor Dr Jörg Becker has taught at the Departments of Political
Science at the University of Marburg in Germany and the University of
Innsbruck in Austria. He studied German, political science and pedagogy
in Marburg, Bern and Tübingen and obtained his PhD in 1977 and his
habilitation in 1981. In 1987 he became honorary professor at the
University of Marburg. He held a Heisenberg scholarship of the German
Research Foundation (DFG) from 1987 until 1992.
His fields of teaching and research are international, comparative and
German media-, communication and cultural studies, technology
assessment, peace research. He has published numerous works in more than
10 languages. Example publications are the monograph “Communication and
Conflict. Studies in International Relations. Preface by Johan Galtung”
(2005) and the collected volumes “Information Technology and a New
International Order” (1984), “Communication and Domination. Essays to
Honor Herbert I. Schiller” (1986), “Transborder Data Flow and
Development” (1987), “Europe Dpeaks to Europe. International Information
Flows between Eastern and Western Europe. With a preface by Willy
Brandt” (1989), “Internet in Asia” (2001), “Internet in Malaysia”
(2001), “Internet in Malaysia and Vietnam” (2002).