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14 Pages

Introduction: Implications of a (radical) socio-cultural ‘turn’ in public relations scholarship

ByLee Edwards, Caroline E. M. Hodges

The increasing prevalence of research taking a different path from the functional, normative approach that has historically dominated public relations scholarship suggests something of a socio-cultural ‘turn’ in the field. However, with the exception of some excellent book-length contributions (e.g. L’Etang & Pieczka, 2006; Mickey, 2002; McKie & Munshi, 2007; Moloney, 2006), such work is often disparate and can be difficult for interested scholars to find. Our aim in this book is to add momentum to the emergent ‘turn’ by bringing together in one location a range of alternative theoretical and methodological approaches that can contribute to a socio-cultural view of public relations. The book not only introduces scholars and students to new perspectives on public

relations; it also opens up avenues for further exploration by experienced colleagues and new researchers alike. The rich theoretical and methodological traditions on which the authors draw, from anthropology and storytelling to Latin American studies and pragmatism, make up a tapestry of inspiration, the intricacies of which we hope to see explored over the coming years. This introduction puts the following chapters in context and explains the value

they offer in socio-cultural terms. We explain briefly normative understandings of public relations, and their legacy in terms of scholarship and practice. In light of this, we argue why a (radical) socio-cultural understanding of public relations is both necessary and advantageous in building knowledge of the profession and enriching scholarship.