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