The Engineering of Consent is an essay by Edward Bernays first published in He defines engineering consent as the art of manipulating people. Edward Bernays applied the principles of propaganda to marketing. he developed an approach he dubbed “the engineering of consent. The PR techniques to engineer consent were first developed and propagated by Edward Bernays, one of the most influential PR-practitioners.

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Ernest Dichter applied what he dubbed “the strategy of desire” for building a “stable society,” by creating for the public a common identity through the products they consumed; again, much like with cultural commodification, where culture has no “identity,” “meaning,” or “history” inherited from previous generations, but rather, is created by donsent attitudes which are introduced by consumer behaviors and social patterns of the period.

Putting the spotlight on this least examined — because best hidden — source of corporate power may increase the transparency of public debates on critical issues and allow citizens to recover spaces for democratic decision-making.

In this instance, the strategy backfired. PR Laundering Box 3: Consen us on social media.

Misuse of dried milk has almost certainly resulted in a similar number of deaths to those killed in all the wars since Retrieved February 24, For companies on the defensive, it can be useful “to refer controversial critical issues to third parties which enjoy public engineerjng. A PR campaign which aims to recruit more donors for a non-profit charity, for instance, will be very different from one motivated by a profit-oriented TNC in response to calls for better regulation of its activities.

The fact that 20 years have elapsed since his death provides a fitting opportunity to reexamine his legacy. To be in a better position to resist corporate attempts to manipulate public debate and engineer consent, corporate accountability activists need to learn how better to distinguish between marketing — engineeribg a product– and corporate public relations — selling industry views although manipulation is key to both kinds of activities.


Engineering Of Consent

Some light may be shed on the question by considering the purpose of a specific PR strategy. PR Laundering Concealment of industry attempts to manipulate public debate is an essential feature of corporate propaganda. For the documentary series episode, see The Century of the Self. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. engiheering

The Engineering of Consent – Wikipedia

Reversing the decline in breastfeeding could save 1. Legislation requiring politicians, government officials and health professionals receiving industry funds to declare that they are doing so could increase transparency in public debates.

Bernays explained, “Professionally, [public relations] activities are planned and executed by trained practitioners in accordance with scientific principles, based on the findings of social scientists. Not only had such coalitions lobbied at international and national levels for stricter regulation of transnational business; they had also researched and exposed publicly what they considered to be harmful business practices and used consumer boycotts to influence corporate practices. Maci rated it liked it Aug 13, The magazine is designed to “inform its [multinational] subscribers of activities, goals and issues of leading NGOs and international agencies [such as UN agencies and those of the EU] which may impact on their operations”.

But instead of farming, he chose a career in journalism, eventually helping the Woodrow Wilson Administration promote the idea that US efforts in World War I were intended to bring democracy to Europe. Baskin and Craig E. A second strategy is to depoliticise debates on societal questions by trying to shift the debate either to less politicsed arenas or from political questions to technocratic issues.


They regarded the request as another delaying tactic.

The Century of the Self. A key corporate PR strategy to foster ‘favourable business climates’ is ‘issues management’ — a strategy which was more tellingly and more accurately called ‘engineering of consent’ in the early s when corporate PR was called ‘corporate propaganda’ by its practitioners.

To discourage religious communities from joining the campaign to end apartheid, a staff member of Pagan International, James Armstrong, who was also former president of the US National Council of Churches, was detailed to contact key figures of the churches personally.

It is clear that we have an urgent need to develop an effective counter-propaganda operation, with a network entineering appropriate consultants in key centres, knowledgeable in the technicalities of infant nutrition in developing countries, and with the appropriate contacts to get articles placed”.

Edward Bernays and the Engineering of Consent

The threat of engineered consent in democracy has been expressed in a textbook on American government: Expert Database Find experts with knowledge in: It also presents a practical problem: These deaths were regarded as completely unnecessary: Eager to do their best for “our entineering future”, they claim to be keen to listen to their critics.

Bernays used the same techniques on children.

The key [is] defining the issues before they can have an impact on you so that you can diffuse them, be prepared to have an action plan when something comes up rather than having to attack hurriedly under an attack.