Power, Diversity and Public Relations

By Lee Edwards

© 2015 – Routledge

136 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415811958
pub: 2014-09-23
US Dollars$160.00

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About the Book

Power, Diversity and Public Relations addresses the lack of diversity in PR by revealing the ways in which power operates within the occupation to construct archetypal practitioner identities, occupational belonging and exclusion. It explores the ways in which the field is normatively constructed through discourse, and examines how the experiences of practitioners whose ethnicity and class differ from the ‘typical’ PR background, shape alternative understandings of the occupation and their place within it.

The book applies theoretical perspectives ranging from Bourdieuvian and occupational sociology to postcolonial and critical race theory, to a variety of empirical data from the UK PR industry. Diversity emerges as a product of the dialectics between occupational structures, norms and practitioners’ reactions to those constraints; it follows that improving diversity is best understood as an exercise in democracy, where all practitioner voices are heard, valued, and encompass the potential for change.

This insightful text will be essential reading for researchers and students in Public Relations, Communications, Media Studies, Promotional Industries, as well as all scholars interested in the sociology of race and work relations.


'In this fascinating study, Edwards ventures far and wide, drawing on a sophisticated array of social and cultural theorists to critically dissect the PR profession. She thus pushes PR scholarship far beyond its comfort zone and into exciting and challenging new directions.' - Aeron Davis, Professor, Goldsmiths University of London, UK

'Lee Edwards makes a mark as a major sociologist of public relations with this stimulating and challenging book on diversity (or the lack of it) in the profession. Skilfully integrating theory and practice, she offers an incisive analysis of race, racism, and identity politics in a field where such issues are usually hidden away in the margins.' - Debashish Munshi, Professor, The University of Waikato, New Zealand

'Dr Edwards' book makes a series of important contributions and provides a cultural and institutional history of the development of public relations as an emblematic profession for our times. It engages in a sophisticated and personal way with leading gender, critical race and diversity theories, locating these debates in the contemporary reorganization of professional occupations, and of the political economy more broadly. And all of this is delivered through a clear and very compelling narrative.' - Daniel Muzio, Professor, Newcastle University, UK

Table of Contents

1: Introduction 2: Historical Context: Empire, Racism and Public Relations 3: Constructing PR Practice: Legitimacy, Jurisdiction and the Erasure of Social Inequity 4: Constructing Competence: Client, Capital and Embodiment 5: Strategies of Resistance: Intersectional Identities as a Source of Critique 6: Successful Marginality: Managing Occupational Identity 7: Occupational Power, Diversity and Public Relations

About the Author

Lee Edwards is Associate Professor at the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds, UK

About the Series

Routledge New Directions in Public Relations & Communication Research

Present academic thinking about PR and related communications reflects an unprecedented expansion and ferment in the discipline and many scholars believe that a radical ‘turn’ should be explored. Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research is a new forum for books of original research in this area. Its remit is to publish critical and challenging responses to continuities and fractures in contemporary PR thinking and practice, and its contested role in market-orientated, capitalist, liberal democracies around the world. The series reflects the multiple and inter-disciplinary forms PR takes in a post-Grunigian world; the expanding roles which it performs, and the increasing number of countries in which it is practised. Offering a new forum to debate these changes with peers around the world, it invites contributions from both established and new academics researching and teaching in these expanding fields of study.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Public Relations