Experiencing Public Relations examines the everyday experiences of PR practitioners in order to better understand how public relations is perceived by those outside and within the field. The book aims to provoke debate around the nature of public relations by looking at how it is defined at a theoretical level, compared to how it is lived and represented in the real world.
Chapters feature work from some of the world’s leading public relations scholars. They cover a diverse range of subjects, such as representations of PR in fiction and film, terrorist use of public relations, the impact of social media and a study of ‘dirty work’ within the public relations industry. The book also explores international PR practices, presenting analysis from contributors based in Australia, Germany, India, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UAE, UK, USA and Venezuela.
Experiencing Public Relations goes beyond the ‘frontstage’ scholarship of public relations to bring together stories of public relations in daily life, revealing how influential theories work out in practice and translate into different cultural and social contexts. This book will provide researchers, professionals and students with a vital perspective on the inner workings of public relations today.
Table of Contents
List of figures, List of tables, List of contributors 1.Introduction: experiencing public relations (Elizabeth Bridgen and Dejan Verčič) 2. Experiencing public relations as an academic discipline: what do scholarly views and published research tell us? (Alenka Jelen-Sanchez) 3. Dealing in facts (Howard Nothhaft) 4.Confessions of a public relations practitioner: hidden life in the open plan office (Paul Willis) 5. Personality in practice (Sarah Williams) 6. Public relations as 'dirty work' (Elizabeth Bridgen) 7. The anatomy of a spokesperson in South Africa: sometimes a lie is kinder than a truth (Ronél Rensburg) 8. ‘Can you see me?’ Images of public relations in Babylon (Kate Fitch) 9. Public relations in fiction (Philip Young) 10. Social media and the rise of visual rhetoric: implications for public relations theory and practice (Ganga S. Dhanesh) 11. From propaganda to public diplomacy: the Chinese context (Chun-Ju Flora Hung-Baesecke and Minghua Xu) 12. Influences of postcolonialism over the understanding and evolution of public relations in Latin America (Juan-Carlos Molleda, Ana María Suárez Monsalve, Andréia Athaydes, Gabriel Sadi, Elim Hernández and Ricardo Valencia) 13. Fanning the flames of discontent: public relations as a radical activity (Øyvind Ihlen) 14. Subversion practices: from coercion to attraction (Sergei A. Samoilenko) 15. Analysing terrorist use of public relations: ISIS and Al Qaeda (Greg Simons) 16. Epilogue: How people experience public relations: applying Martin Buber phenomenology to ‘PR tree’ (Jordi Xifra) Index
Elizabeth Bridgen is Principal Lecturer in Public Relations at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Her research explores the lives of public relations practitioners with a particular focus on gender, diversity, and the impact of technology on working lives.
Dejan Verčič is Professor and Head of the Department of Communication at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His research focusses on globalization and strategic communication. He is a member of the European Communication Monitor (www.communicationmonitor.eu) research team, and since 1994 he has organized BledCom (www.bledcom.com).
'What a great idea this book is. It presents thorough soul-searching by seasoned scholars to reveal an interesting array of flipsides of concepts and practice of public relations as they are not commonly known by students, teachers, professionals or anyone else interested in the world of public relations.'
Betteke van Ruler, Professor of Communication Science, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
‘Drawing from real-life, if "inappropriate," creativity, practice theorised as "dirty work," fictional police communicators in the age of Instagram, and Buber philosophising about a tree, this collection’s chapters are enlightening and enlivening. Fun and serious, diverse and internationally informed, their authors bring fresh air and insight into previously-neglected arenas of PR experience.’
David McKie, Professor of Strategic Leadership and Transformation, Waikato Management School, New Zealand
‘The book offers a valuable introduction into a range of marginalised worlds in public relations theory and practice, with a refreshing range of analytical approaches, authors and sites of practice that have global relevance. The chapters incorporate the lived experience of PR, revealing the marginalised voices of people who are actually at the centre of practice, doing the ‘dirty work’, as well as new theoretical worlds that open doors to alternative thinking. In the process, the chapters challenge us to consider the robustness of existing links between the academy and the actually existing world of PR in countries across the globe, and find ways to strengthen them. The various contributions show that the sanitised and idealised world of theory and industry narratives do not always address the complexity of public relations in different regions, cultural contexts and organisations. By introducing a range of non-public relations theories to the field, from visual communication, sociologies of work and the professions, postcolonial theory and subversion to popular culture, the chapters allow the reader to interrogate taken-for-granted identities and concepts, including the ‘practitioner’, ‘client’, and ‘spokesperson’, as well as ‘image’ and ‘truth’ to reveal the complex agency that these concepts have, the role they play in (mis)shaping practice, and the different ways in which they are enacted in changing contexts.This is a valuable text for students and researchers who want to explore public relations in ways that go beyond its function in organisations.'
Lee Edwards, Associate Professor, Communication Studies and PR, University of Leeds, UK
'This book is a refreshing addition to the body of knowledge. Its uniqueness lies in its attempt to portray "the hidden" side of public relations – the side that perhaps the field itself wants to keep from the public. Public relations practice and scholarship will benefit from such thoughtful introspection by contributors with decades of experience in practicing, and theorizing about, public relations.'
Krishnamurthy Sriramesh, Professor, Brian Lamb School of Communication, Purdue University, USA