1st Edition

Public Relations and Sustainable Citizenship Representing the Unrepresented

By Debashish Munshi, Priya Kurian Copyright 2021
    112 Pages
    by Routledge

    112 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines how public relations might re-imagine itself as an instrument of "sustainable citizenship" by exploring alternative models of representing and building relationships with and among marginalised publics that disrupt the standard discourses of public relations. It argues that public relations needs to situate itself in the larger context of citizenship, the values and ethics that inform it and the attitudes and behaviours that characterize it.

    Interlacing critical public relations with a theoretical fabric woven with strands of postcolonial histories, indigenous studies, feminist studies, and political theory, the book brings out the often-unseen processes of relationship building that nurtures solidarity among historically marginalized publics. The book is illustrated with global cases of public relations as sustainable citizenship in action across three core elements of the earth – air, water, and land. In each of the cases, readers can see how resistance movements, not necessarily aligned with any specific organization or interest group, are seeking to change the status quo of a world increasingly defined by exploitation, overconsumption, sectarianism, and faux nationalism.

    This challenging book will be of interest to students and scholars of not only public relations but also the broader social and management sciences who are interested in issues of environmental and social justice.

    1. Theorizing Public Relations and Sustainable Citizenship 

    2. Air: Breathing Life into Action on Climate Change 

    3. Water: Struggles over Defining a Life Resource 

    4. Land: Changing the Narratives of Occupation and Imposed Identities 

    5. Earth: Public Relations for the Planet and its People


    Debashish Munshi is Professor of Management Communication at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. His research interests lie at the intersections of communication, diversity, sustainability, social change, and citizenship. He is co-author of Reconfiguring Public Relations: Ecology, Equity, and Enterprise (2007) and co-editor of Handbook of Communication Ethics (2011), On the Edges of Development: Cultural Interventions, (2009) and Feminist Futures: Re-imagining Women, Culture, and Development (2016).

    Priya Kurian is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Her research is interdisciplinary and involves work on environmental, social, and cultural sustainability through a focus on environmental politics and policy, science and technology studies, and development studies. She is the author of Engendering the Environment? Gender in the World Bank’s Environmental Policies (2000), and co-editor of Feminist Futures: Re-imagining women, culture, and development (2003; 2016); On the Edges of Development: Cultural Interventions (2009); and International Organisations and Environmental Policy (1995).

    "In Public Relations and Sustainable Citizenship, Munshi and Kurian once again deliver a powerful work of the highest quality scholarship that insists on our attention. Shifting the terrain for both functional and critical approaches to public relations, they emphasise the fundamental importance of action, connection and relationship to resistance communication. As a way of understanding the many acts of resistance to planetary domination by capitalist and political elites, the power of public relations for sustainable citizenship is both emergent, built on organic connections that grow as causes and concerns multiply, and urgent, built on a passion for justice that should engage us all. As such, this book is not only a powerful alternative theorisation of public relations in the interests of the planet and its people; it is also a call to action for scholars and practitioners to democratise public relations and use its power productively." – Lee Edwards, London School of Economics and Political Science