Introduction To Media And Communication Theory

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” The Century of The Self”- Documentary

Part 1: “Happiness Machines”

Part 2: “The Engineering of Consent”


Documentary Review-

“Mass and Behavior” – Analysis of the Transformation to Consumption Society




*For those who want to continue:



Also see: The Role Of Media In Influencing Government And The Public


” The Century of The Self”, a four-part BBC documentary by Adam Curtis, is about Freud’s exploration of subliminal research techniques and mass manipulation. It is about how Edward Bernays laid the foundations of public relations based on these concepts.

It is a cult work to understand the consumption culture – that is us…

The man who reads the minds of the crowd: Edward Bernays…

Edward Bernays was the first to use Freud’s theories about people to manipulate the masses. Makes people want – what they don’t…

He is also the architect of practices that first proved this to Americans: the consuming human model.

Bernays was working with opera singer Enrico Cruso. At that time, Wilson was the US president. The US administration commissioned Bernays to inform the public after World War I. He made Wilson a folk hero. Flooded masses even overthrow the government. In the 1920s Bernays started writing books. The concept of “Consent Engineering” … The individual can vote for the wrong person, if not directed from above! Bernays’ daughter explains what her father did: “Individuals; indulging deeply into your desires and fears and using it for your own purposes. He saw the masses as stupid. ”


Goal; was to be effective in making decisions and making money by manipulating the unconscious of people!

There are also some headlines – can be found in the film:

  • If propaganda is used for war; is it also used for peace?
  • What is a “public relations council”?
  • The unconscious of people is manipulated. They are made to decide. Well; how is it possible to make money? What methods and what weaknesses can be used?

Bernays focused on addressing emotion, not reason.

Now… Look around and take a few examples. Through the main subject of Mass and Behavior; describe the transformation into the Consumption Society …

Select any questions as you wish. Choose multiple issues if you want.

  • What happened in the late 1940s when psychoanalysis was applied to the masses? Do you think it can be the only way for adapting to the world?
  • Why does it matter “how it makes you feel”, not what you need most? Why does it matter “how it makes you feel”, not what you need most? How are people falling for it?
  • What does it mean to recreate reality? How did the transition from a “needed culture” to a “happiness culture”?
  • What motivates the human mind? What does Bernays call this?
  • What is the hidden self? How is the individual motivated?


1- As Bernays said; “Emotions arise where there is no information.”

By watching episodes, you will almost reach all the general and absolute concepts you need to know about consumption culture. Therefore, in the analysis you will write, I will check your knowledge / what you have learned from the ideologies we have talked in the class – and the documents you are going to watch.

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(There are hundreds of analyzes, articles and researches written on this subject. Take a look.)

2- This is an analysis article. If there is no analysis, idea, discussion, information – your assignment will be considered invalid.

3- If you do not give examples from the documentary- your assignment will be considered invalid.

4- If your article don’t base on the theories – theorists mentioned in the documentary your assignment will be considered invalid.

5- If the quotations exceeding 30 percent (will be tested for similarity) – your assignment will be considered invalid.

6- Font Calibri body, 11 font size, justified, 1.5 line spacing. Texts with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10 pages will be accepted

7- Articles that do not have “assignments general rules and sensitivity” -your assignment will be considered invalid.

Last Updated on November 27, 2020 by EssayPro