A couple of weeks ago I watched the award-winning BBC documentary series The Century of the Self produced and directed by Adam Curtis. It’s about how Sigmund Freud’s ideas about psycho analysis was adopted by his nephew Edward Bernays a.k.a “the founding father of public relations”, in order to influence and control the masses. By finding out what people desire and not what people need, Bernays used Freud’s psychological techniques in order to manipulate people by appealing to their unconscious minds. In short the documentary pictures the societal development from the perception of people as masses to todays consumerism.
The series is from 2002 so it’s not that new, but it’s still relevant and interesting. No matter if you’re in the beginning or end of your education, I really recommend every PR/ Communication student to watch it – Why?
– It provides a good backdrop to the psychology behind PR and marketing.
– It illustrates Adorno & Horkheimer’s fundamental theories about people as passive audiences.
– It deals with conceptions such as rationality, propaganda, politics, consumerism and the evolution from collectivistic to individualistic societies – all relevant for PR/ Communication students.
The Century of the Self is divided into four episodes and is available on Youtube (don’t expect a HD version…). So, if you feel the need of taking a break from reading the course literature (sorry Howard), watch it here 🙂
All the best,
Master’s Programme in Strategic Communication, Class of 2014
Thanks to everyone who came to hear web psychologist Nathalie Nahai last week – and especially to those who shared their impressions through social media channels.
Here is a quick Storify snaphot of what you said.
And here is Nathalie’s presentation – you will find a fuller report on the NEMO blog in due course.
Download the pdf here: Web Psychology skuncut
Web psychologist Nathalie Nahai’s much anticipated guest lecture (Thursday, March 14, begins 15.15, room C224) offers a great opportunity for building your online brand. She is going to be talking about the reasons people behave as they do on social networks, and give valuable insights into what makes us click – perfect material for blog posts!
If you tweet about Nathalie’s lecture, please use the hashtags #webpsych and #skchbg and I will pull them together using Storify. If you write a blog post, add the link in a comment to this post. Nathalie is @TheWebPsych by the way, and she blogs at http://www.thewebpsychologist.com/blog/.
Sharing your ideas, and commenting on other people’s ideas is a good way to attract traffic to your site, or to gain useful Twitter followers. It will also help to showcase the impressive calibre of Campus Helsingborg students to prospective employers, here in Sweden and across the world.
Get to it!
The 20th century has seen the rise of (the) organisation, for good and for bad. Public relations has played its part in that ascent since the days of Edward L. Bernays. First in creating the consumer citizen. Later, often though not always, in deflecting criticism of malpractice.
Today we take a look at one of the strategies, public relations and other forms of strategic communication deploy in order to draw away attention from systemic malfunctions. Malfunctions that come with the wonder of organisation – the other side of the coin of ever growing wealth since the days of the industrial revolution.
In his groundbreaking master work, the Wealth Of Nations, Adam Smith wrote about the individual, that ‘he is (…) led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.’ While Smith meant unintended, positive outcomes of economic activity, the organised individual since the dawn of the 20th century also became part of organised malpractices that were unintended, too, but not for good.
It should be no surprise that the proper organisation of business goes hand in hand with the proper organisation of masking businesses’ dark and immoral sides. In Organsation und Moral, German professor for business and organisational theory, Günther Ortmann, outlines a bunch of strategies modern organisations use to mask malpractices, to divert attention from their wrongdoings. Sacrificing ‘rogue employees’, is among the favourites.
It is a few years now since Dove launched the inspirational Evolution of Beauty video which brought a flood of visitors to its impressive Real Beauty content. Here’s an interesting follow- up, plus a reminder of the original, and one of many pastiches which illustrate the power of remediation.