The Century of the Self: The Engineering of Consent

17 11 2007


Wednesday, November 21st in the TA ( HCL 8 )

5 PM and 6 PM – The Century of the Self: The Engineering of Consent (60 min)

The beginning briefly recaps the previous episode so don’t worry if you missed the first part!

Description: The Engineering of Consent

The programme explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud’s ideas about the unconscious mind to try and control the masses.

Politicians and planners came to believe Freud’s underlying premise – that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires and fears. They were convinced that it was the unleashing of these instincts that had led to the barbarism of Nazi Germany. To stop it ever happening again they set out to find ways to control this hidden enemy within the human mind.

Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna, and his nephew, Edward Bernays, provided the centrepiece philosophy. The US government, big business, and the CIA used their ideas to develop techniques to manage and control the minds of the American people. But this was not a cynical exercise in manipulation. Those in power believed that the only way to make democracy work and create a stable society was to repress the savage barbarism that lurked just under the surface of normal American life.




2 responses

17 11 2007
Daniel Downs

A cute picture. Reminds me of a book about Columbine and its links to modern culture. At the turn of the 19th-20th Centuries, a survey of girls diaries revealed a primary concern for virtue and morality. After the rise of Hollywood, modern advertising, and American dependence on big corporate materialism, the dominant concern of girls was appearance. Marketing and social engineering employed Freudian ideals for material and power gain. The backlash was the rise of sex based crime and violence that traces back to that change at least according to crime statistics.

17 11 2007

I’m very skeptical about the link with sex based crimes and violence. Furthermore, correlation doesn’t equate to causation. A rise could have been explained by many other third variables.

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