Public Relations, Cooperation, and Justice : From Evolutionary Biology to Ethics book cover
1st Edition

Public Relations, Cooperation, and Justice
From Evolutionary Biology to Ethics

ISBN 9780367874186
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
304 Pages

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Book Description

Modern approaches to public relations cluster into three camps along a continuum:

  • conflict-oriented egoism, e.g. forms of contingency theory that focus almost exclusively on the wellbeing of an entity;

  • redressed egoism, e.g. subsidies to redress PR’s egoistic nature; and

  • forms of self-interested cooperation, e.g. fully functioning society theory.


Public Relations, Cooperation, and Justice draws upon interdisciplinary research from evolutionary biology, philosophy, and rhetoric to establish that relationships built on cooperation and justice are more productive than those built on conflict and egoistic competition. Just as important, this innovative book shuns normative, utopian appeals, offering instead only empirical, materialistic evidence for its conclusions.

This is a powerful, multidisciplinary, and well-documented analysis, including specific strategies for the enactment of PR as a quest for cooperation and justice, which aligns the discipline of public relations with basic human nature. It will be of interest to scholars and advanced students of public relations and communication ethics.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Section I: Introduction

Chapter 1 Introduction: A Consilience of Cooperation

Chapter 2 The Public Relations of Evolution

Section II: Evolutionary Biology, Public Relations, and Cooperation

Chapter 3 Introduction to Section II: Evolutionary Biology, Neuroscience,

and Cooperation

Chapter 4 Re-envisioning Charles Darwin

Chapter 5 Peter Kropotkin and Mutual Aid

Chapter 6 Dawkins, Gould, and Wilson: The Modern Debate

Chapter 7 The Evolution of Game Theory

Section III: Philosophy, Public Relations, and Cooperation

Chapter 8 Introduction to Section III: Philosophical Materialism,

Cooperation, and Justice

Chapter 9 David Hume and the Origins of Justice

Chapter 10 John Rawls and Justice as Fairness

Section IV: Rhetoric, Public Relations, and Cooperation

Chapter 11 Introduction to Section IV: Persuasion and Cooperation

Chapter 12 Isocrates, Moderation, and Justice

Chapter 13 Isocrates’ Legacy: The Roman Rhetoricians and Beyond

Section V: Conclusions

Chapter 14 Summaries and Strategies




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Charles Marsh is the Oscar Stauffer Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas, USA. He is author of Classical Rhetoric and Modern Public Relations: An Isocratean Model (Routledge) and co-author of Public Relations: A Values-Driven Approach (Pearson) and Strategic Writing (Routledge).


Dialogue and cooperation are motives well-known in public relations theory, often with a normative bent. With this publication Charles Marsh rallies evolutionary biology for the cause, acting as matchmaker between natural science and humanities. Through a well-written, well-read, sophisticated, yet accessible discussion, he introduces nine tenets for public relations emphasizing cooperation and justice as leitmotifs, even from a self-interested perspective. A highly enjoyable read.

Øyvind Ihlen, Professor, University of Oslo, Norway

How lucky we are to have Charles Marsh weave us such a seamless tapestry of theory—from a variety of fields—that demonstrates how social harmony, not competition, is the superior basis for a successful approach to public relations. From ancient philosopher Isocrates to evolutionary biologist E.O.Wilson, the voices that speak through this text provide solid evidence in support of cooperation and pave the way toward an understanding of public relations practice that privileges justice in the creation of successful relationships.

Jessalynn Strauss, Assistant Professor, Elon University, USA

A great read and provocative multidisciplinary-based empirical argument outlining how social harmony and cooperative communication approaches to public relations may outlast other frameworks in guiding the field of public relations into the future—a classic yet contemporary academic revelation.

Michael Palenchar, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee, USA