Public Relations, Society and the Generative Power of History examines how histories are used to explore how the past is constructed from the present, how the present is always historical, and how both past and present can power imagined futures.
Divided into three distinct parts, the book uses historical inquiry as a springboard for engaging with interdisciplinary, critical and complex issues in the past and present. Part I examines the history of corporate PR, the centrality of the corporation in PR scholarship and the possibility of resisting corporate hegemony through PR efforts. The theme of Part II is ‘Historicising gender, ethnicity and diversity in PR work,’ focusing on how gendered and racialised identities have been constructed and resisted both within the profession and through the result of its work. Part III engages with ‘Histories of public relations in the political sphere,’ bringing together work on the different ways in which public relations has evolved in changing political contexts, both formally as a function within political institutions and in the context of contributions to broader narratives of nationalism and identity.
Featuring contributions from leading academics, this book challenges traditional PR historiography and contests the ‘lessons’ derived from existing literature to address the implications of key areas of critically engaged PR theory. This volume is a valuable teaching resource for upper-level undergraduates and postgraduates studying public relations, strategic communications, political communication and organisational communication.