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The University of Nottingham

Propaganda and Ideology in Everyday Life

The University of Nottingham via FutureLearn


This free online course explores the building blocks of our political views: freedom, community, place, justice and choice.

These words mean different things to different people – such radically different things in fact, that individuals, protest movements and entire states often go to war to assert their understanding of, say, freedom over somebody else’s.

Understand how propaganda works with our everyday beliefs

Over five weeks, we will explore how and why words come to mean such different things, across time and space. We will look at how we come to be political, and how political ideology and propaganda pick up on the words, images and symbols we use to express our own convictions and sentiments.

The course draws on the academic expertise of The University of Nottingham’s Centre for the Study of Ideologies (CSPI), as well as collections showcased in the British Library’s 2013 exhibition, Propaganda: Power and Persuasion.

We will examine examples from different periods and contexts in the 20th and 21st centuries, looking at how propaganda is used to promote causes both “good” and “bad” in the arenas of public health, identity and belonging, and freedom and responsibility.

Share your beliefs with a global community of learners

Throughout the course, you will be able to share your thoughts, beliefs and experiences with other learners, and post images to an online archive, helping to show us what freedom, community or protest might mean to you.

In this way, you can join a global conversation, where people discuss politics across national, social and religious dividing lines, helping all of us appreciate where our differences of views originate.

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in politics, history and propaganda. No previous experience or qualifications are required.


  • Freedom
    • Propaganda and Ideology
    • Freedom and Politics
    • Freedom, Citizenship and the Social Order
    • Picturing Freedom and the Concept of Ideology
  • Justice
    • Justice between War and Peace
    • Justice, the State and the Individual
    • Justice: the View from Below
    • Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Picturing Justice and Injustice
  • Belonging and Community
    • Nations and Nationalism
    • Ethnicity and Belonging
    • National Identity between the Local and the Global
    • Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Picturing Belonging and Community
  • Belonging and Place
    • Maps and Ideology
    • Nature as an Ideological Resource?
    • Cities, Spatial Design and Place Making
    • Picturing Places of Belonging and Interdisciplinary Perspectives
  • Consumerism and Ideology
    • Consuming Ideology
    • Consumer Choice and the Politics of Taste
    • Ideology and the Promise of Consumption
    • Picturing Consumerism and Ideology, and Interdisciplinary Perspectives
    • Reflecting on Propaganda and Ideology
    • Resource Bank


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