Category Archives: Critical perspectives

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Public Relations and Social Theory: Key Figures, Concepts and Developments broadens the theoretical scope of public relations studies by applying the work of a group of prominent social theorists to make sense of the practice. The volume focuses on the work of key social theorists, including Max Weber, Karl Marx, John Dewey, Jürgen Habermas, Niklas Luhmann, Michel Foucault, Ulrich Beck, Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, Robert Putnam, Erving Goffman, Peter L. Berger, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Bruno Latour, Dorothy Smith, Zygmunt Bauman, Harrison White, John W. Meyer, Luc Boltanski and Chantal Mouffe. Each chapter is devoted to an individual theorist, providing an overview of that theorist’s key concepts and contributions, and exploring how these 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.

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Fanning the Flames of Discontent

New chapter out soon going on about the potential for public relations as a radical activity. Three different aspects or versions of radical public relations are discussed. In the first instance, public relations as a radical activity can be seen as that which provides a break with the previous functionalistic paradigm of the discipline. A second take is that radical public relations applies critical and postmodern theories that call attention to power struggles in society and criticize the role public relations plays in this regard. Ultimately, the chapter ends with a discussion of a third possible take, namely that radical public relations promotes agonistic, consensual conflict as the ideal for practice.

Ihlen, Ø. (2017). Fanning the flames of discontent: Public relations as a radical activity. In E. Bridgen & D. Vercic (Eds.), Experiencing public relations: International perspectives. London: Routledge.

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