“Political Communication [hearts] Public Relations” is the title of my chapter in the volume Public relations theories for contemporary China edited by C. Xianhong. The chapter presents and discusses political communication as the field has developed in the Western hemisphere. The potential of this scholarship to inform public relations is discussed alongside the notion “political public relations.” Arguably, there has also been many studies of public relations and power which could be subsumed under the political communication umbrella. Still, the main argument of the essay is that political communication contributes with a much needed understanding of the communicative dimensions of politics. Political communication and political theory offer important ontological insights about for instance conflicts of interests.
Ihlen, Ø. (2018). Political communication [hearts] public relations [translated from Chinese]. In C. Xianhong (Ed.), Public relations theories for contemporary China (pp. 358-370). Beijing, China: Public Relations Society of China. Preprint version
The Handbook of organizational rhetoric and communication is on its way. A book long in the making and I am especially proud of having worked with (Sir) Bob Heath.
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.
Robert L. Heath and I have had our paper Ethical grounds for public relations as organizational rhetoric accepted for presentation at the 68th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA). In Prague, we will discus how public relations practitioners can communicate ethically and what the positive social contribution of public relations as organizational rhetoric can be. These recurring questions are discussed with the starting point in rhetorical theory. The paper adds the notions of fairness and rhetorical citizenship, as well as agnostic theory to the discussion. Taken together, the paper thus contributes to the further development of ethical grounding for public relations as a form of organizational rhetoric.
Finally! Some of the best papers from last year’s EUPRERA Congress have been published. Electronic version out on the opening of this year’s conference in London. If you are a member of EUPRERA please be on the look out for the discount code. We are talking 70 percent….
1. EDUCATING SOCIETY’S FUTURE PR PRACTITIONERS: AN EXPLORATION OF ‘PREPAREDNESS’ AS A QUALITATIVE INDICATOR OF HIGHER EDUCATION PERFORMANCE
2. CONTEXTUALISING CHANGE IN PUBLIC SECTOR ORGANISATIONS
3. WHEN A NATION’S LEADER IS UNDER SIEGE: MANAGING PERSONAL REPUTATION AND ENGAGING IN PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
4. TOWARDS A SOCIETAL DISCOURSE WITH THE GOVERNMENT? A COMPARATIVE CONTENT ANALYSIS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNICATION BY THE BRITISH, FRENCH AND GERMAN NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS 2011-2015
5. LESSONS LEARNED: COMMUNICATION STUDIES IN TRANSITION
6. SECRETS OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
7. SOCIAL MEDIA: THE DIALOGUE MYTH? HOW ORGANISATIONS USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE
8. CLARIFYING SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES IN ORGANISATIONAL DECISION MAKING – PERCEPTIONS OF FINNISH COMMUNICATION PROFESSIONALS
9. CRISIS, RESPONSE, REPUTATION, ACTOR, AND CONTEXT: A CROSS-DISCIPLINARY STUDY OF KEY CONCEPTS IN PUBLIC RELATIONS, BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
A consistent finding in the crisis communication literature is that organizations should attempt to have a well-established relationship in place with stakeholders before a crisis occurs. Organizations need to engage in dialogue in advance of crisis situations. Together with Abbey Levenshus (Butler U), I have written a chapter that summarizes and discusses the literature that gives advice on how to use social media in this regard. It is argued that there is still a lot to learn from the more sophisticated theoretical conceptions of dialogue. Dialogue can be seen as a quality of communication and of relating with others, and/or an ideal to strive for. The main contribution of the chapter lies in the discussion of the limits of dialogue in an organizational context, and the practical suggestions for how the dialogue ideal can be approached.
Ihlen, Ø., & Levenshus, A. (2017). Digital dialogue: Crisis communication in social media. In L. Austin & Y. Jin (Eds.), Social media and crisis communication (pp. 389-400). London: Routledge.
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.