Public Relations and Social Theory

Public Relations and Social Theory : Key Figures and Concepts

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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 Jurgen 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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 376 pages
  • 157.48 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 635.03g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 Tables, black and white
  • 0415997852
  • 9780415997850

Table of contents

Introduction: Applying Social Theory to Public Relations; Oyvind Ihlen and Betteke van Ruler

On Beck: Risk and Sub-politics in Reflexive Modernity; Magnus Fredriksson

On Berger: A Social Constructionist Perspective on Public Relations and Crisis Communication; Mats Heide

On Bourdieu: Public Relations in Field Struggles; Oyvind Ihlen

On Foucault: A Toolbox for Public Relations; Judy Motion and Shirley Leitch

On Giddens: Interpreting Public Relations through Anthony Giddens' Structuration and Late Modernity Theory; Jesper Falkheimer

On Goffman: Researching Relations with Erving Goffman as Pathfinder; Catrin Johansson

On Habermas: Understanding and Public Relations; Roland Burkart

On Latour: Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) and Public Relations; Piet Verhoeven

On Luhmann: Contingency, Risk, Trust and Reflection; Susanne Holmstrom

On Mayhew: The Demonization of Public Relations and the Validation of the New Citizen; Richard Stanton

On Putnam: Bowling Together--Applying Putnam's Theories of Community and Social Capital to Public Relations; Vilma Luoma-aho

On Feminist Theory of Public Relations: An Example from Dorothy E. Smith; Lana F. Rakow and Diana Nastasia

On Spivak: Theorizing Resistance: Applying Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in Public Relations; Mohan Jyoti Dutta

On Weber: Legitimacy and Legitimation in Public Relations; Arild Waeraas

Conclusions on the Domain, Context, Concepts, Issues, and Empirical Avenues of Public Relations; Oyvind Ihlen and Piet Verhoeven

Commentary: Linking Sociology with Public Relations--Some Critical Reflections in Reflexive Times; Gunter Bentele and Stefan Wehmeier
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About Betteke Van Ruler

Dr. Oyvind 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.
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