Public Interest Communication: Critical Debates and Global Contexts, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Public Interest Communication

Critical Debates and Global Contexts, 1st Edition

Edited by Jane Johnston, Magda Pieczka


218 pages

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Hardback: 9781138737112
pub: 2018-08-02
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315185521
pub: 2018-07-18
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Communication has become the technology of public interest, demanding a re-examination of the key concept of public in both public relations and communication theory. This book defines a new concept of public interest communication, combining the conflict, negotiation and adaptation inherent in public interest, with a critical approach to communication management and public relations.

Combining conceptual discussions about public theories of language with the tension between the public and private interests for public relations professionals, the book uses case studies to explore the negotiation of conflicting interests and the construction of the public interest within systems of governance at local, national and international levels. Public interest communication is identified within social and cultural contexts that resonate globally – health, community, media and the environment - each representing interest conflicts within the changing global environment.

Addressing the forces of fragmentation, inequality and individualisation that characterize the modern world, this thought-provoking volume will be of great interest to researchers and advanced students of communication, public relations, environmental communication, public communication, and public policy.


In Public Interest Communication: Critical Debates and Global Contexts Jane Johnston and Magda Pieckza tackle the shifting dynamics of late modern communicative practice and its puzzling and contradictory relationship to society to find a better way. Bravo! Read this book. We must as a discipline, profession and society, have this conversation! - Kristin Demetrious, Associate Professor Of Communication, Deakin University

"This will become a classic" - Bob Heath

Table of Contents

Introduction: Jane Johnston & Magda Pieczka 

Part I: Critical debates

1. Public interest communication: A framework for systematic inquiry

By Jane Johnston and Magda Pieczka          

2. Terministic dialectics of individual and community agency: Co-creating and co-enacting the public interest

By Bob Heath and Damian Waymer

3. Communicating public engagement, public interest and participation: Culturally centering community voices

By Mohan J Dutta

4. Climate change and the public interest: Science, legitimacy and diversity

By Mhairi Aitken

5. Commercial media platforms and the challenges to public expression and scrutiny

By Nicholas Carah

Part II: Global contexts

6. Articulating national identity in postcolonial democracies: Defining relations and interests through competing publics

By T. Kenn Gaither and Patricia A. Curtin

7. In whose interests? Media, political communication and First Nations Australians

By Jane Johnston, Susan Forde & Boni Robertson

8. Understanding the public interest puzzle in China’s public relations: The role of balance and counterbalance based on Confucian Great Harmony  

By Jenny Hou

9. Security, democratic legitimacy and the public interest: Policing and the communicative ritual in deeply divided societies

By Ian Somerville and Scott Davidson

10. Lobbying for life: Violence against the press and the public interest  

By Julieta Brambila andJairo Lugo Ocando


About the Editors

Jane Johnston is Associate Professor of Communication and Public Relations at The University of Queensland, Australia. Her book Public Relations and the Public Interest, published in 2016 by Routledge, broke new ground and she continues to expand her research in this exciting field.

Magda Pieczka is Reader in Public Relations at Queen Margaret University, UK where she currently leads the Centre Public Engagement and Dialogue and is a key member of Communication, Culture and Media Studies research centre.

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 / Business Ethics
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Public Relations
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies