International History of Public Relations Conference
Organização: Institute for Media and Communication Research, Bournemouth University
Local: Bournemouth (Inglaterra)
Data: 24 e 25 de junho de 2013
Edward Bernays and Freudian group psychology
CASTRO, J. C. L.
Resumo: This work intends to explore the debt from PR pioneer Edward Bernays to the crowd psychology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and especially to the formulations of Sigmund Freud in this regard. Freud is an important reference for other influential names in the history of public relations, such as Walter Lippmann and Ivy Lee. In the case of Bernays, however, the connection goes deeper. Born in Vienna as a double nephew of Freud, when he is one year old his parents settle in the United States, where he spends his life and builds his career. But, throughout his life, Bernays maintains himself in touch with his famous uncle and is profoundly influenced by his ideas. On the one hand, this means that, for Bernays, the most efficient way to reach people is to appeal to their unconscious desires. On the other hand, he recommends to identify potential leaders and try to gain access to the population at large through them. Both strategies are illustrated by the famous episode of the Torches of Freedom parade. In order to promote the habit of smoking among women, cigarettes are equated with phallic symbols (a suggestion made to Bernays by the psychoanalist A. A. Brill). Then, some women are carefully chosen to display themselves with cigarettes in public, as models of emancipated behavior.
Palavras-chave: Bernays, public relations, PR, Freud, group psychology, mass psychology.