1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Public Relations

Edited By Donnalyn Pompper, Katie R. Place, C. Kay Weaver Copyright 2023
    490 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    490 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Public relations is a uniquely pervasive force in our modern economy, influencing every aspect of our lives from the personal to the political. This comprehensive volume provides an expert overview of current scholarship, reflecting the impact of technology, society, and demographic shifts in a complex global environment.

    The last century saw the emergence of the public relations discipline. This expertly curated collection explores the dynamic growth in thinking about public relations’ role in our changing global society, now and into the future. It reflects the challenges and perspectives of postcolonial, postmodern, feminist, critical race theory, social responsibility, sustainability, activist standpoints, as well as the profound and unpredictable impact of technological change and social media. Each chapter provides an overview of current knowledge and its roots, while engaging with emerging new directions and old debates – and advocates for where the research agenda is likely to advance in the future.

    This unique Companion will be an essential resource for students and researchers in public relations, communication, marketing, media, and cultural studies. It provides an authoritative reference for educators and a one-stop repository of public relations knowledge, scholarship, and debates for the enquiring professional.


    Dean Kruckeberg 

    Unit I: Introduction

    Assessing the discipline to envision a critical, radical, inclusive public relations future

    Donnalyn Pompper, Katie R. Place, & C. Kay Weaver

    Unit II: Public Relations’ Conceptual Underpinning 

    1. Toward better global thinking through Latin America’s understanding of public relations

    Vanessa Bravo 

    2. Public relations ethics from advocacy to ethical leadership

    Marlene S. Neill

    3. Public relations and the racial reckoning: Exploring race, activism and Black Lives Matter

    Nneka Logan

    4. Public relations history impacts on the present and the future

    Karla K. Gower

    5. Revisiting intersectionality: The stray, strain, and performativity of social identity dimensions in public relations over the past decade

    Jennifer Vardeman, Natalie T. J. Tindall, Natasha Saad, & LaRahia Smith

    6. Public relations and the law

    Debbie Davis

    Unit III: Theorizing the Discipline

    7. Paradigm shifts in public relations theory

    Maureen Taylor & Michael L. Kent

    8. The situational theory of problem solving (STOPS): Past, present, and future

    Lisa Tam, Jeong-Nam Kim, & Hyelim Lee

    9. A sociological lens on public relations

    Øyvind Ihlen

    10. The eclipse of trust and systemic vulnerability: Theorizing crises in an increasingly complex world

    Dawn R. Gilpin

    11. The cultural-economic model of public relations theory and practice

    Pat Curtin

    12. Public relations in a post-truth world

    Gareth Thompson

    Unit IV: Building the Practice

    13. Media relations today

    Dustin Supa & Lynn Zoch

    14. More substance, less half-truths: A critique of image, promotion, and propaganda in public relations

    Damion Waymer

    15. Tracing the evolution of public relations education

    Brigitta Brunner 

    16. PR girls and spin doctors: The PR profession in popular culture

    Kate Fitch & Ella Chorazy

    17. Measurement, evaluation + learning (MEL): New approaches for insights, outcomes, and impact

    Jim Macnamara

    18. Is communication integration good for public relations? 

    Brian G. Smith, Hyunmin Lee, & Katie R. Place

    Unit V: Public Relations as Social Responsibility

    19. Stakeholder networks and corporate social responsibility

    Aimei Yang

    20. Public relations and social responsibility: For-profit and nonprofit perspectives

    Brooke W. McKeever & Kate Stewart

    21. Public relations and sustainability across the African Continent: Using Afro-centric philosophies to remember what’s been ‘forgotten or lost’

    Donnalyn Pompper & Eric Kwame Adae

    22. Public affairs and lobbying: Public relations and the unequal contests to construct the public interest

    Scott Davidson

    23. Public relations as responsible persuasion: Activism and social change

    Ana Adi & Thomas Stoeckle

    Unit VI: Public Relations Tools: Social Media, Artificial Intelligence, and Analytics

    24. Social media in public relations: Future directions and analysis of social media literature from 2007-2020

    Karen Freberg & Karen Sutherland

    25. Mobile first: Public relations in an evolving digital landscape

    Katie R. Place, Adrienne A. Wallace, & Regina Luttrell

    26. Artificial intelligence and public relations: Growing opportunities, questions, and concerns

    Lukasz Swiatek & Chris Galloway

    27. "Big data" analytics: Technology, tools, and strategic change

    Jeremy Harris Lipschultz

    Unit VII: Public Relations Moving Forward

    28. Evolving our conceptualizations of "publics" and "the public" to reimagine public relations and sustain democratic society

    Bey-Ling Sha

    29. Public relations practice equipped for the future: Evolution or radical change?

    Anne Gregory

    30. The public strikes back: Subaltern organizing and insurgent public relations

    Debashish Munshi & Priya Kurian

    31. New avenues for public relations research

    Lee Edwards

    32. The complexities of contemporary communicator roles and the future of public relations

    Franzisca Weder & C. Kay Weaver 


    Donnalyn Pompper is Professor and Endowed Chair in Public Relations, School of Journalism & Communication, and affiliate faculty for Ethnic Studies and the Science Communication Research Center at the University of Oregon, USA.

    Katie R. Place is Professor of Strategic Communication at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, USA.

    C. Kay Weaver is Chair and Professor in the Department of Advertising, Public Relations, and Media Design at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA.

    "Nearly 40 years ago, some of us met at the International Communication Association conference in Honolulu aspiring to establish public relations as a research division. The 1980s was a fertile era of books and articles. In the 1990s, others joined the fray, but we worried who would sustain that emerging era of public relations inquiry. As I ponder The Routledge Companion to Public Relations, I am heartened that it arouses curiosity, targets key themes, brings in new voices, and (re)shapes the paradigm of public relations. It moves dialogically toward a paradigm less organizational-centric and more focused on the cultural."

    Robert L. Heath, Professor Emeritus, University of Houston, USA

    "The Routledge Companion to Public Relations is a timely and carefully curated compilation of critical public relations thinking for an increasingly polarized, volatile, and complex world. It is a must-read for those who are keen on exploring the potential of public relations to create ethical, equitable, and inclusive futures. The chapters offer inspiring insights from critical, senior public relations scholars from across the world into reimagining the future of public relations through disruptive, radical thinking."

    Ganga Dhanesh, Associate Dean, College of Communication and Media Sciences, Zayed University, UAE

    "In acknowledging dramatic changes in the public relations field, this long-overdue collection conveys those, sometimes transformational changes, with up-to-date perspectives and contemporary research. Instead of isolating critical and other kinds of new studies in separate handbooks, this book includes them as a natural and substantial part of the current canon. It also integrates work by top PR academics with less-known authors to offer a rich and wide-ranging mix. An essential volume for every public relations educator’s bookshelf."

    David McKie, Emeritus Professor, University of Waikato, New Zealand