Adam Curtis - The Century of the Self (2002)

The Century of The Self

Adam Curtis' acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty.

To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis; Edward Bernays, who invented public relations; Anna Freud, Sigmund's devoted daughter; and present-day PR guru and Sigmund's great grandson, Matthew Freud.

Sigmund Freud's work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society's belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man's ultimate goal.

01 Happiness Machines: Edward Bernays and the invention of public relations and modern advertising
02 The Engineering of Consent: How the US Government turned to psychoanalytic principles after WWII as a reaction against the Nazi state. Focusing on the rise and fall of Anna Freud.
03 There Is A Policeman Inside All Our Heads. He Must Be Destroyed: How the reaction against Freudian ideas in the 1950s and 60s ended up making it even easier to control the public
04 Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering: How the left turned to psychoanalytic principles to regain power in the US and Britain in the 1990s.


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