Power, Diversity and Public Relations: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Power, Diversity and Public Relations

1st Edition

By Lee Edwards


136 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415811958
pub: 2014-09-23
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Power, Diversity and Public Relations addresses the lack of diversity in PR by revealing the ways in which power operates within the occupation to construct archetypal practitioner identities, occupational belonging and exclusion. It explores the ways in which the field is normatively constructed through discourse, and examines how the experiences of practitioners whose ethnicity and class differ from the ‘typical’ PR background, shape alternative understandings of the occupation and their place within it.

The book applies theoretical perspectives ranging from Bourdieuvian and occupational sociology to postcolonial and critical race theory, to a variety of empirical data from the UK PR industry. Diversity emerges as a product of the dialectics between occupational structures, norms and practitioners’ reactions to those constraints; it follows that improving diversity is best understood as an exercise in democracy, where all practitioner voices are heard, valued, and encompass the potential for change.

This insightful text will be essential reading for researchers and students in Public Relations, Communications, Media Studies, Promotional Industries, as well as all scholars interested in the sociology of race and work relations.


'In this fascinating study, Edwards ventures far and wide, drawing on a sophisticated array of social and cultural theorists to critically dissect the PR profession. She thus pushes PR scholarship far beyond its comfort zone and into exciting and challenging new directions.' - Aeron Davis, Professor, Goldsmiths University of London, UK

'Lee Edwards makes a mark as a major sociologist of public relations with this stimulating and challenging book on diversity (or the lack of it) in the profession. Skilfully integrating theory and practice, she offers an incisive analysis of race, racism, and identity politics in a field where such issues are usually hidden away in the margins.' - Debashish Munshi, Professor, The University of Waikato, New Zealand

'Dr Edwards' book makes a series of important contributions and provides a cultural and institutional history of the development of public relations as an emblematic profession for our times. It engages in a sophisticated and personal way with leading gender, critical race and diversity theories, locating these debates in the contemporary reorganization of professional occupations, and of the political economy more broadly. And all of this is delivered through a clear and very compelling narrative.' - Daniel Muzio, Professor, Newcastle University, UK

Table of Contents

1: Introduction 2: Historical Context: Empire, Racism and Public Relations 3: Constructing PR Practice: Legitimacy, Jurisdiction and the Erasure of Social Inequity 4: Constructing Competence: Client, Capital and Embodiment 5: Strategies of Resistance: Intersectional Identities as a Source of Critique 6: Successful Marginality: Managing Occupational Identity 7: Occupational Power, Diversity and Public Relations

About the Author

Lee Edwards is Associate Professor at the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds, UK

About the Series

Routledge New Directions in Public Relations & Communication Research

Current academic thinking about PR and related communication is a lively, expanding marketplace of ideas and many scholars believe that it’s time for its radical approach to be deepened. Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research is the forum of choice for this new thinking. Its key strength is its remit, publishing critical and challenging responses to continuities and fractures in contemporary PR thinking and practice, tracking its spread into new geographies and political economies. It questions its contested role in market-orientated, capitalist, liberal democracies around the world, and examines its invasion of all media spaces, old, new, and as yet unenvisaged. The New Directions series has already published and commissioned diverse original work on: PR’s influence on Israeli and Palestinian nation building; its origins in the history of ideas; a Jungian approach to its ethics and professionalism; global perspectives on its professional practice; PR as an everyday language for everyone; as emotional labour; as communication in conflicted societies, and its relationships to cooperation, justice and paradox. We actively invite new contributions and offer academics a welcoming place for the publication of their analyses of a universal, persuasive mind-set that lives comfortably in old and new media around the world.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Public Relations