The Engineering of Consent

Bernays, Edward L., ed.

Original publication date: 1955
Original publisher: University of Oklahoma Press, Norman
Publication status: Out of print

Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud is the father of modern Public Relations.  In The Engineering of Consent Bernays and his fellow contributors describe the science of manipulating of public opinion with Freud’s concept of “unconscious desires,” cynically appealing to emotion and deeply held ideals rather than convincing with facts. His insights now provide the basis of almost the entire modern media and advertising industry, and by extension, politics and business.

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” (from Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928)

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