The SSRC is an independent, international, nonprofit organization. It fosters innovative research, nurtures new generations of social scientists, deepens how inquiry is practiced within and across disciplines, and mobilizes necessary knowledge on important public issues.
This special issue is designed to place our contemporary post-truth impasse in historical perspective. Drawing comparisons to the Propaganda Analysis research paradigm of the Interwar years, this essay and issue call attention to historical similarities between patterns in mass communication research then and now. The hope is that contemporary misinformation studies scholars can learn from and avoid the pitfalls that have historically faced propaganda researchers. Placing research on propaganda in historical context offers one way of counterbalancing the depoliticizing tendencies that can be found in contemporary misinformation studies. It provides a wider field of vision, and calls attention to the contingency of the very concepts that social scientists use to frame their surveys and interviews, code their content, and ground their analysis.