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Understanding Public Relations
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Understanding Public Relations
Theory, Culture and Society

  • Lee Edwards - London School of Economics, UK, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK , University of Leeds, UK


April 2018 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This book argues that public relations is not merely an organizational tool, but a powerful influence on social and political life. From carefully considered communication by multinational corporations, to government campaigns that manage public opinion, to the self-promotion of celebrities via social media, public relations is central to our individual and collective lives.

Understanding Public Relations introduces a socio-cultural approach to public relations as a way of analysing the growing importance of public relations in its social, cultural and political contexts. Encouraging a deeper and more critical understanding of its influence on society, Lee Edwards:

  • Explores public relations in relation to contemporary debates around promotional culture, discourse, globalisation, democracy and power
  • Considers how public relations frames vital discussions of race, gender, class and ethics
  • Brings theory to life with a range of case studies, including YouTube vlogging, the global fair trade movement and the 2016 EU referendum in the UK

Both accessible and provocative, this is an invaluable resource for students and researchers exploring public relations theory, critical public relations, strategic communication and promotional culture.

 
Chapter 1: Starting points: Defining socio-cultural research in public relations
 
Chapter 2: Public relations as promotion: The production and circulation of meaning
 
Chapter 3: Public relations, discourse and power
 
Chapter 4: A political economy of public relations
 
Chapter 5: Deliberative democracy and public relations
 
Chapter 6: Public relations and the public sphere
 
Chapter 7: Public Relations and globalisation
 
Chapter 8: Public relations as an occupational field: The professional project
 
Chapter 9: Race and Class in / and PR
 
Chapter 10: Feminist public relations: Performativity, Black feminism, postfeminism
 
Chapter 11: Ethics, Public Relations and Society
 
Chapter 12: Conclusion: Public relations beyond the organisation

Understanding Public Relations pushes the genre of the public relations text into new territory. Lee Edwards looks beyond organisational boundaries to vividly illustrate and explore the public relations occupation as a social and cultural practice.

Øyvind Ihlen
University of Oslo

A must-read for any serious PR student or scholar, Edwards’ socio-cultural approach presents an important and timely challenge to the dominance of functionalism in the field of public relations.

Dennis Mumby
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Edwards thinks deeply about the world we live in, delivering thoughtful, accessible prose on PR’s role in society. Ideal for PR students, scholars and practitioners.

Clea Bourne
Goldsmiths, University of London

Lee Edwards’ important book offers a crucial and unique perspective on public relations by emphasizing society and culture as a sense-making context for PR. With chapters exploring the dynamics of public relations within cultural contexts of race, class, feminism, political economy and ethics, Edwards rightly insists we think about the power relations that authorize contemporary forms of promotion. 

Sarah Banet-Weiser
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California

One of the most comprehensive and coherent explorations of the role of public relations in society to date. A must-read for anyone who is serious about understanding its power and its possibilities.

Anne Gregory
University of Huddersfield

One of the most comprehensive and coherent explorations of the role of Public Relations in society to date. It’s a must read for anyone who is serious about understanding its power and possibilities

Anne Gregory
Huddersfield University

Very good and relevant book to see influencingf aspects not only on the organizational scale, but also on societal and political levels. A "must-read" for any student dealing with this topic. Also the book contains very relevant actual case studies to illustrate the topic.

Dr Meik Nowak
IEE, Ruhr-University Bochum
May 22, 2018

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 9: Race and Class in/and PR


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Paperback
ISBN: 9781473913103
£27.99

Hardcover
ISBN: 9781473913097
£75.00