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Posts Tagged ‘book’

I’m starting a new blog to track the creation of my next book on appearance, deception, fast and slow communication. It’s provisionally titled Public Relations and Depth Communication: Behind the Mask (for the Routledge New Directions in Public Relations and Communications Research series). Will have thoughts, reviews, links. Followers, suggestions & contributions cordially invited here: Mask bookmask

  • with thanks to Padraig Macnamara for beautiful logo

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Reflecting on two days’ discussion of PR/Strat Comms as a research field, I observe a profound tension between

a) scholars who wish to constrain the research objects to something manageable, measurable and scientific which will help define the field for reserchers and enhance understanding of practice – theories which are observable in the material world. The strength of this desire is the search for core concepts/models through rigorous scientific method; the weakness is that it tries to put vagaries of human communication into boxes too small to contain them; and

b) scholars who embrace multi perspective/interdisciplinary approaches and consider pursuit of Truth as futile or phantastical – they have a more playful sense of research which undermines the foundational claims commonly made in PR/SC research. Their strength is the richness of ideas and imagination they bring to traditionally rather applied research; the weakness is that as perspectives multiply, the field itself could easily scatter beyond recognition or identification.

I belong to group b – with its roots in critical thinking and engagement with postmodern theory – but am aware that this has dangers.

My book proposal illustrates this: I presented ideas for a volume that combines social theory, PR theory, cultural studies, psychologies of persuasion, Jungian concepts and current PR practice. There is a central argument that weaves these strands together which, phew, was comprehensible to those present who gave the ideas a very warm welcome. So the weakness could be that the macro-level discussion of PR’s impact on society becomes too abstract; the strength lies in my experience of practice and ability to ground wilder theories in the everyday.

I greatly appreciated the opportunity to test these ideas and their relevance to the question of where PR research is going – it may have taken a lot of airmiles and a massive drop in Centigrade to get there, but I reckon one hour’s discussion has saved me 6 months’ solitary head banging. So, thanks to Howard Nothhaft and Sara von Platen from Lund University and Jens Seifert from U of Vienna for organising this event.fdf_ss24522

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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