Edward Bernays, Propaganda=Public Relations

Book “Propaganda” by Edward Bernays.

Freud’s nephew, influenced by his work – psychoanalysis and “crowd psychology” (worth looking at).


Edward Bernays is the author of the term “PR”. He works with the ideas of his uncle about the subconscious, irrational human impulses and uses them to serve corporate interests, thus provoking the masses to use products, based not on rational needs, but irrational desires.

Notes:

-The word “propaganda” was little-used in English before the World War One and did not carry the same negative meaning as it does now. The term as we know it now  – convincing a large number of people about the accuracy/veracity of a certain set of ideas -appeared in 1622 . It was introduced by Pope Gregory XV, who was frightened by the global spread of Protestantism, but was far from “denoting lies, half-truths, selective history or any of the other tricks that we associate with “propaganda” now, that word meant, at first, the total opposite of such deceptions.”  The word had “strongly Catholic aura” before the 19th century. “Prior to the war, the world’s derogatory use was far less common than its neutral denotation. Here, for example, is the calm (and accurate) definition given in the Oxford English Dictionary: “Any association, systematic scheme, or concerted movement for the propagation of a particular doctrine or practice.” Which is not necessarily bad, like we think of propaganda nowadays.

THE WAR changed the reputation of propaganda. “…,it was not until 1915 that governments first systematically deployed the entire range of modern media to rouse their populations to fanatical assent.”

“the manufacture of consent” – Walter Lippmann’s famous phrase

 

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