Century of the Self available online

Edward_Bernays.jpgI notice that the award winning BBC documentary series Century of the Self is available on certain bittorrent trackers (for example, here).

The series, made by producer Adam Curtis, follows the development of the concept of the self from the ideas of Freud, to the massively influential but largely unknown role of his nephew Edward Bernays.

Bernays is considered the ‘father of public relations’ as he virtually invented the practice in its current form by applying his uncle’s theories.

Crucially, instead of selling products on the basis that they were better products, he revolutionised advertising by marketing them to appeal to the sense of self – i.e. the product would make you a better person (more attractive, more independent or whatever).

He was later involved in applying the same techniques to excert political influence on behalf of the US government and later wrote Propaganda, one of the most influential books on the subject.

The documentary tracks how the psychology of the ‘self’ evolved and was used by marketeers and politicians throughout the 20th century.

It gets a little political towards the end, but otherwise strikes me as a groundbreaking analysis of a neglected topic. Highly recommended.

Link to torrent for ‘Century of the Self’.
Link to Wikipedia entry on Edward Bernays.
Link to Wikipedia entry on ‘Century of the Self’.
Link to BBC information on ‘Century of the Self’.

3 Comments

  1. Dana Leighton
    Posted February 18, 2006 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m new to the Bit Torrent thing… Just curious if this is copyright-free, or released by the copyright holder? I want to recomment it to my students, but cannot without knowing it’s OK in terms of copyright infringement (that pesky academic honesty thing!)
    Thanks,

    Dana C. Leighton
    Psychology Instructor
    Tri-County Technical College

  2. Posted February 26, 2006 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    It’s not copyright-free technically, but it will never be released on DVD due to copyright restrictions and the cost of clearing some of the clips in it! So you’ve got two options, never see it, or see it by breaking copyright laws. It’s that pesky out of date copyright law thing.
    Additionally, the series can be found on the Internet Archive who claim to not post copywritten content. That’s probably a safer place to send students to.

  3. Michael Bingaman
    Posted February 26, 2006 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    http://www.archive.org/details/AdaCurtisCenturyoftheSelf_0


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