Coming soon to a library near you: The never-stopping Bob Heath has just published the second edition of the mammoth work called the Encyclopedia of Public Relations. I have done my best to fill some of the 1152 pages, by submitting three entries, focusing on external rhetoric, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social capital respectively. As always, I am touting rhetoric as a discipline that offers practical advice as to how to establish credibility, how to construct logical arguments, and how to emotionally connect with an audience. And, just as important, rhetoric also presents an epistemology which steers away from naïve realism to show how knowledge is generated and socially constructed through communication.
The entry on CSR covers the historical development of CSR, its fundamental concepts, the criticisms of CSR, and the role public relations plays for corporations that choose to follow its precepts. Finally, the entry on social capital defines the concept in brief as networks and the benefits which accrue from inclusion in those networks. Three positions on social capital are outlined and then I give a short overview of some potential applications within public relations.