written by Francis B. Nyamnjoh
Democracy at the Crossroads of Nature and Culture
This book discusses the seminal role played by Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, in the founding of American-style public relations – persuasive communication through manipulation of symbols – and his huge (and cynical) impact on the American economic and political scene. It provides a substantiated and convincing explanation for what is happening today in Donald Trump’s America. In the form of a history of ideas, the book makes clear that the present Trumpian manipulation of democracy and what it means to be American has a long pre-history and continues to go through different phases, involving the cultivation and institutionalisation of strong bonds between business and politics.
The book shows how this is intimately linked with a science, intellectualism and practice informed by a series of binary oppositions in human action and interaction (e.g. rationality and irrationality, reason and emotion, mind and body, brain and heart, insider and outsider, us and them) and how unpredictable human nature really is. It makes a convincing argument that being human depends on how successfully we are able to negotiate such apparently contradictory binaries with the intricacies and dynamism of human agency. It is rich and thought provoking and very timely, given the exclusionary politics of fear, anger, hate and nativism we see unfolding not only in the USA but all over the world.
|Dimensions||216 x 140mm|
|Publisher||Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon|
“In the USA, we are fond of using social sciences, our material development, and our rationality, as foundations to study other societies. We often find their democracies and their modernization wanting, short of some standard inspired by an idealized version of ourselves and of where we stand. In this compelling book, Francis Nyamnjoh turns the mirror back on us. It is an unsettling experience, but one that has the potential to enlighten.” Pierre Englebert, Professor of International Relations, Pomona College, Claremont, USA
“Francis Nyamnjoh tackles with remarkable boldness the debate over the rational choice theory and its opposite, the Bernays pseudo-Freudian propaganda based on individual unconscious irrational drives, and connects it with the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook debates. His rather optimistic conclusion concerning Trump is encouraging.” Jean-Pierre Warnier, Emeritus Professor and author of The Pot-King. The Body and Technologies of Power (2007)
“It is enjoyable to read a creative and thorough account of the North American flavored gaslighting that I find myself living in. Nyamnjoh gives not only an introduction to Freudian inspired propaganda, but illustrates a romantic comedy: the meeting of two lovers made for each other – The USA and capitalism. He approaches the subject with wit and a wink. His writing expands outside and in between the pendulum swings, muddying the water of dichotomies to include us all in the conversation.” Sarada Rauch, New Media Artist and Assistant Professor of New Media Technology, LaGuardia Community College, New York, USA