ISBN 9789956550142
ePub ISBN 9789956550746
Pages 160
Dimensions 216 x 140mm
Published 2018
Publisher Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
Formats Paperback, eBook

The Rational Consumer: Bad for Business and Politics

Democracy at the Crossroads of Nature and Culture

by Francis B. Nyamnjoh

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.

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About the Author

Francis B. Nyamnjoh

Francis B. Nyamnjoh joined the University of Cape Town in August 2009 as Professor of Social Anthropology from the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Dakar, Senegal, where he served as Head of Publications from July 2003 to July 2009. He has taught sociology, anthropology and communication studies at universities in Cameroon and Botswana, and has researched and written extensively on Cameroon and Botswana. In October 2012 he received a University of Cape Town Excellence Award for “Exceptional Contribution as a Professor in the Faculty of Humanities”. He is recipient of the “ASU African Hero 2013” annual award by the African Students Union, Ohio University, USA. He is: a B1 rated Professor and Researcher by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF); a Fellow of the Cameroon Academy of Science since August 2011; a fellow of the African Academy of Science since December 2014; a fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa since 2016; and Chair of the Editorial Board of the South African Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Press since January 2011. His scholarly books include: Africa’s Media, Democracy and the Politics of Belonging (2005); Insiders and Outsiders: Citizenship and Xenophobia in Contemporary Southern Africa (2006); “C'est l'homme qui fait l'homme”: Cul-de-Sac Ubuntu-ism in Côte d'Ivoire (2015); and #RhodesMustFall: Nibbling at Resilient Colonialism in South Africa (2016).

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