The documentary Century of Self Documentary written, directed and produced by Adam Curtis,
goes to explore how Freud's developed theories were used by his nephew in order to manipulate the people. Edward Bernays was truly the father of public relations. He associated products with desires and got everybody hooked on consumerism. Edward Bernays was smart to investigated and applied techniques of mass-consumerism. He believed that deep down into all humans there is fear, using that tactic to control the minds of the American people. The ideas were put forth into all areas including economy, business, politics and more. Into analyzing the movie and particular scenes,we can make various direct connections to the sociological theories such as Symbolic Interaction, and the Critical theory and more into Herbert Marcuse's piece of writing.
Firstly, one example that connects to the theory of Symbolic Interaction, is the campaign to convince women to smoke, cigarettes were seen as a source of male sexual power. Therefore, Bernays associated the act of smoking with a sort of challenge to that power, then women smocked the cigarette. This would be a symbol, and satisfy woman’s envy of the male penis. He grouped woman to smoke in a parade, to protest the unequal rights of women, and protest against male dominance by lighting up cigarettes which they called “torches of freedom”.The press came to capture the moment, while women were lighting up their ‘torches of freedom’. For that reason the sales of cigarettes on women went up. He made it socially acceptable. He influenced women that cigarettes were like a symbol of independence and power. This was an idea to control the masses. By using Freud’s techniques to satisfying the inner irrational desires of people that could make them happy and thus obey. Thus, this connects well with Symbolic internationalism, which explains that people act based on symbolic meanings they find within any given situation. We interact with the symbols, forming relationships around them. Our social structures are worked out through the social interactions with others. Accoring to Symbolic Interactionism the important principal of meaning is the central aspect of human behavior. Different people respond toward objects differently based on if these objects are important to them. The idea that smoking made women really feel powerful was unreal, however, it made them feel that way once buying the product. For that reason the irrelevant object became a powerful emotional symbol that dispalyed how women want to be seen. The tool is once you give new meaning to things, people act based on that. Cigarettes smoking is not only for man, if you want others to use it you simply have to give new meaning. In this case we manipulate the meanings of cigarets for women.
Furthermore, Edward Bernays saw that the way to sell a product or services, was not to sell it to your intellect, to your innner slef. That way you will feel better...