Strategic Communication and Deformative Transparency

Cover of book Strategic Communication and Deformative Transparency

By Isaac Nahon-Serfaty

This book examines deformative transparency and its different manifestations in political communication, propaganda and public health. The objective is to present the theoretical foundations of deformative transparency, as grotesque and esperpentic transparency, and illustrate the validity of such approach to understand the strategic and ethical implications of the proactive disclosure of the "shocking", "ugly" or "outside the norm". Four areas are discussed: political communication with particular focus on populist politicians as the deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, the campaign and presidency of Donald Trump, and the tenure in office of the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford; propaganda strategies of Islamist terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State’s escalation of the visually horrific; and public health campaigns that use "disturbing images" to promote public awareness and eventually influence behavioural change. This study on the transparently grotesque is part of a research program about the economy of emotions in public communication.


1. Grotesque transparency: theoretical and methodological foundations
2. Alternate reflexivity: the politics of excesses
3. Sacralization and profanation in public communication
4. Public health, fragmentation and the legitimacy of the grotesque
5. Strategy, transparency, aesthetics and the ethics of the realistically grotesque
Conclusion: change and atavism in grotesque transparency

Isaac Nahon-Serfaty is Associate Professor of the Department of Communication, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and a member of IAMCR.

"This book illustrates commonly used discourses of extremists, radicals, and organizations advocating for difficult causes. Emergent communication technologies enhance the outrageous character of images and metaphorical expressions aimed to capture the imagination, attention, and interest of distracted and increasingly fragmented audiences. Dr. Nahon-Serfaty’s strong academic and professional authority adds legitimacy to this innovative scholarship." -Juan-Carlos Molleda, University of Florida, USA

The above text is from the publisher's description of the book.

Title: Strategic Communication and Deformative Transparency: Persuasion in Politics, Propaganda and Public Health
Author: Isaac Nahon-Serfaty
Published: 2018
Pages: 112
Publisher: Routledge

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