Public Relations and Social Theory: Key Figures and Concepts (Paperback) book cover

Public Relations and Social Theory

Key Figures and Concepts

Edited by Øyvind Ihlen, Betteke Van Ruler, Magnus Fredriksson

© 2009 – Routledge

376 pages

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Paperback: 9780415997867
pub: 2009-02-09
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Public Relations and Social Theory broadens the theoretical scope of public relations through its application of the works of prominent social theorists to the study of public relations. The volume focuses on the work of key social theorists, including Jürgen Habermas, Niklas Luhmann, Michel Foucault, Ulrich Beck, Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, Robert Putnam, Erving Goffman, Peter L. Berger, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Bruno Latour, Leon Mayhew, Dorothy Smith and Max Weber. Unique in its approach, the collection demonstrates how the theories of these scholars come to bear on the understanding of public relations as a social activity. Understanding public relations in its societal context entails a focus on such concepts as trust, legitimacy, understanding, and reflection, as well as on issues of power, behavior, and language.

Each chapter is devoted to an individual theorist, providing an overview of that theorist’s key concepts and contributions, and exploring how these concepts can be applied to public relations as a practice. Each chapter also includes a box giving a short and concise presentation of the theorist, along with recommendation of key works and secondary literature.

Overall, this volume will enhance understanding of theories and their applications in public relations, expanding the breadth and depth of the theoretic foundations of public relations. It will be of great interest to scholars and graduate students in public relations and strategic communication.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: Applying Social Theory to Public Relations; Øyvind Ihlen and Betteke van Ruler
  2. On Beck: Risk and Sub-politics in Reflexive Modernity; Magnus Fredriksson
  3. On Berger: A Social Constructionist Perspective on Public Relations and Crisis Communication; Mats Heide
  4. On Bourdieu: Public Relations in Field Struggles; Øyvind Ihlen
  5. On Foucault: A Toolbox for Public Relations; Judy Motion and Shirley Leitch
  6. On Giddens: Interpreting Public Relations through Anthony Giddens’ Structuration and Late Modernity Theory; Jesper Falkheimer
  7. On Goffman: Researching Relations with Erving Goffman as Pathfinder; Catrin Johansson
  8. On Habermas: Understanding and Public Relations; Roland Burkart
  9. On Latour: Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) and Public Relations; Piet Verhoeven
  10. On Luhmann: Contingency, Risk, Trust and Reflection; Susanne Holmstrøm
  11. On Mayhew: The Demonization of Public Relations and the Validation of the New Citizen; Richard Stanton
  12. On Putnam: Bowling Together--Applying Putnam’s Theories of Community and Social Capital to Public Relations; Vilma Luoma-aho
  13. On Feminist Theory of Public Relations: An Example from Dorothy E. Smith; Lana F. Rakow and Diana Nastasia
  14. On Spivak: Theorizing Resistance: Applying Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in Public Relations; Mohan Jyoti Dutta
  15. On Weber: Legitimacy and Legitimation in Public Relations; Arild Wæraas
  16. Conclusions on the Domain, Context, Concepts, Issues, and Empirical Avenues of Public Relations; Øyvind Ihlen and Piet Verhoeven
  17. Commentary: Linking Sociology with Public Relations--Some Critical Reflections in Reflexive Times; Günter Bentele and Stefan Wehmeier

About the Editors

Dr. Øyvind Ihlen is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo, and an associate professor at Hedmark College, both in Norway. Ihlen has published several books and his research has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals such as Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Journal of Public Affairs, Journal of Communication Management, International Journal of Strategic Communication, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, and Business Strategy and the Environment.

Prof. Dr. Betteke van Ruler is a professor at the Department of Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. van Ruler is a member of a number of editorial boards, among them Public Relations Review and Corporate Communications: An International Journal. From 2004 to 2006 she was Chair of the Department of Communication Sciences of the University of Amsterdam. She has also served as the President of the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (Euprera) and as Chair of the Public Relations Division of the International Communication Association.

Dr. Magnus Fredriksson is a lecturer at University of Gothenburg and former director of the program in Communication Management at the University West, both in Sweden. He has published in Swedish public relations anthologies, written for two government commission reports, and been chronicler for the Swedish Public Relations Association. Fredriksson is co-founder of the Nordic research network LOKE and is a board member of the Swedish Association for Media and Communication Research.

About the Series

Routledge Communication Series

The Routledge Communication Series covers the breadth of the communication discipline, from interpersonal communication to public relations, offering textbooks, handbooks, and scholarly reference materials.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Public Relations
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies