chapter  21
13 Pages

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Critical Public Relations as a cure for Media Studies’ fear of the dark

ByC. Kay Weaver

Given that normative functional public relations scholarship and its widespread espousal in the tertiary education classroom does support Western neoliberal capitalist business agendas (McKie & Munshi, 2007 , 2009 ; Weaver, 2011 ), and that the history of the public relations industry is intimately connected to the history of capitalism and neoliberalism (Demetrious, 2006 ; Miller & Dinan 2000), there are grounds for these fears. Yet what do these concerns about public relations and public relations education say about Media Studies, how it understands and engages with public relations, and how it engages with and contributes to critical public relations scholarship? And why, when public relations “occupies a central position in today’s wider promotional culture” (Cottle, 2003 , p. 3), does Media Studies itself not place “the public relations question” at its very heart?