One of the controversial aspects raised during the lecture was the assertion that individual rights are more important than the rights of society. Every person has individual rights that may go against public notions of good and evil. In such a situation, the individual must choose a direction: follow the heart’s call or society’s voice. According to Kellner (2014), this requires deciding which is more important: staying true to yourself or helping others. I believe that a person should strive to ensure that these positions coincide. Accordingly, public rights are more important than personal interests.
Special attention deserves such a category of knowledge as mass consciousness. Mass consciousness can be defined as a form of social consciousness that is available for isolating, studying, and observing, which is a set of beliefs, stereotypes, values and knowledge included in everyday practices and manifested in them. Modern mass media play a unique role in the formation and change of mass consciousness. Sommerfeldt (2013) affirms that the concept of mass consciousness should not be confused with social consciousness. Social consciousness is a broader, conceptual and even abstract concept in a certain sense. It is not available for study by empirical methods. Social consciousness is all the knowledge, traditions, experience, values and other societal characteristics rooted in a given society, representing the socio-historical evolution of a given society and its existential appearance. Robertson (2018) notes that the media have the enormous social integrative potential for both positive and negative myth-making, ideology generation and institutionalization. The critical task is to manipulate the mass consciousness, its aspects and levels. In this regard, mass consciousness appears as a structural object of information-manipulative and socio-psychological management.
An equally exciting aspect is the relationship between the concepts of public relations and advertising. Advertising and public relations, being tools for increasing the level of sales, have, however, some fundamental differences. Advertising is an open direct message to a potential consumer about purchasing a product or service. In turn, PR is a more subtle and accurate tool for interacting with the target audience, the task of which is not to sell but to inform about the product to create a particular image in the minds of consumers and brand loyalty. Crossley and Roberts (2004) argue that the categories of advertising and PR are united by the concept of opinion management. Thus, mass consciousness is directly related to such aspects as the media, advertising, and public relations.
Crossley, N. and Roberts, J. M. (2004) ‘Introduction’, in Crossley, N. and Roberts, J. M. (eds) After Habermas: New perspectives on the public sphere. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 1 – 17.
Kellner, D. (2014) ‘Habermas, the public sphere, and democracy’, in Boros, D. and Glass, J.M. (eds) Re-imagining public space: The Frankfurt School in the 21st century. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 19 – 43.
Robertson, S. P. (2018) ‘Introduction’, in Robertson, S.P. (ed.) Social media and civic engagement: History, theory, and practice. San Rafael: Morgan & Claypool Publishers, pp. 1 – 5.
Sommerfeldt, E.J. (2013) ‘The civility of social capital: public relations in the public sphere, civil society, and democracy’, Public Relations Review, 39(4), pp. 280 – 289.