Public Relations, Society and the Generative Power of History
Public Relations, Society and the Generative Power of History examines how histories are used to explore how the past is constructed from the present, how the present is always historical, and how both past and present can power imagined futures.
Divided into three distinct parts, the book uses historical inquiry as a springboard for engaging with interdisciplinary, critical and complex issues in the past and present. Part I examines the history of corporate PR, the centrality of the corporation in PR scholarship and the possibility of resisting corporate hegemony through PR efforts. The theme of Part II is ‘Historicising gender, ethnicity and diversity in PR work,’ focusing on how gendered and racialised identities have been constructed and resisted both within the profession and through the result of its work. Part III engages with ‘Histories of public relations in the political sphere,’ bringing together work on the different ways in which public relations has evolved in changing political contexts, both formally as a function within political institutions and in the context of contributions to broader narratives of nationalism and identity.
Featuring contributions from leading academics, this book challenges traditional PR historiography and contests the ‘lessons’ derived from existing literature to address the implications of key areas of critically engaged PR theory. This volume is a valuable teaching resource for upper-level undergraduates and postgraduates studying public relations, strategic communications, political communication and organisational communication.
INTRODUCTION – ‘Public relations, society and the generative power of history’
Ian Somerville, Lee Edwards and Øyvind Ihlen
PART ONE – CHALLENGING CORPORATISM AND MANAGERIALISMCHAPTER 1 ‘The contribution of public relations to promotional culture: taking the long view’
CHAPTER 2 ‘"Presencing" and "absencing": a deconstruction of US-based public relations textbooks'
CHAPTER 3 ‘How employee relations shaped and maintained US coporate welfare: a historical overview'
Patricia A. Curtin
PART TWO – HISTORICISING GENDER, ETHNICITY AND DIVERSITY IN PUBLIC PR WORK
CHAPTER 4 ‘Wives, secretaries and bodies: representations of women in Australian public relations journal, 1965–1972'
CHAPTER 5 ‘History, racialisation and resistance in "post-race" public relations’
CHAPTER 6 ‘Intersectional activism, history and public relations: new understandings of women’s communicative roles in anti-racist and anti-sexist work'
Jennifer Vardeman, Amanda Kennedy and Brittany Little
CHAPTER 7 ‘Public relations in the master’s house’
CHAPTER 8 ‘Communicating identity histories in ethnic museum public relations’
Melissa A. Johnson
PART THREE – HISTORIES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN THE POLITICAL SPHERE
CHAPTER 9 ‘Selling municipal socialism: local government, the Left and the transformation of political public relations in Britain’
CHAPTER 10 ‘Anticipating the age of "political spin"?: an historical analysis of 1980s government communications
CHAPTER 11 ‘Sports promotion and the construction of "Irish" identity: nationalism, social exclusion and the Gaelic Athletic Association’
Ian Somerville, David Mitchel and Owen Hargie
CHAPTER 12 ‘A critical discourse analysis of Jonathan Dean Swift’s Drapier’s Letters: public advocacy and nationalism in Ireland, 1724-1725’
'Jacquie L’Etang made important contributions to the literature on public relations history, but she never stopped with just that. Following her example, Public Relations, Society and the Generative Power of History uses historical research as the foundation for critical analysis of the industry, inviting scholars and students to engage with such key issues as power, race, gender and ideology in the study of public relations. It answers L’Etang’s call for scholars to view public relations critically, to broaden theoretical and methodological approaches, and to see public relations in its larger social, political, and cultural contexts. It expands our understanding of both contemporary and historical practices and effects and public relations scholarship is better for it.'
Professor Karen Miller Russell, Jim Kennedy New Media Professor and Associate Professor of public relations at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia.