[NetBehaviour] The Century of the Self (2002). Adam Curtis. Free online to watch...

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Fri Sep 5 11:24:30 CEST 2014

The Century of the Self (2002). Adam Curtis.


This series is about how those in power have used Freud's theories to 
try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy. Sigmund 
Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed the perception of the 
human mind and its workings profoundly.

His influence on the 20th century is widely regarded as massive. The 
documentary describes the impact of Freud's theories on the perception 
of the human mind, and the ways public relations agencies and 
politicians have used this during the last 100 years for their 
engineering of consent. Among the main characters are Freud himself and 
his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological 
techniques in advertising. He is often seen as the father of the public 
relations industry.

Freud's daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is mentioned 
in the second part, as well as Wilhelm Reich, one of the main opponents 
of Freud's theories. Along these general themes, The Century of the Self 
asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism, 
representative democracy and its implications. It also questions the 
modern way we see ourselves, the attitude to fashion and superficiality.

Happiness Machines. Part one documents the story of the relationship 
between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays who 
invented Public Relations in the 1920s, being the first person to take 
Freud's ideas to manipulate the masses.

More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list