Critical theory has a long history, but a relatively recent intersection with public relations. This ground-breaking collection engages with commonalities and differences in the traditions, whilst encouraging plural perspectives in the contemporary public relations field.

Compiled by a high-profile and widely respected team of academics and bringing together other key scholars from this field and beyond, this unique international collection marks a major stage in the evolution of critical public relations. It will increasingly influence how critical theory informs public relations and communication.

The collection takes stock of the emergence of critical public relations alongside diverse theoretical traditions, critiques and actions, methodologies and future implications. This makes it an essential reference for public relations researchers, educators and students around a world that is becoming more critical in the face of growing inequality and environmental challenges. The volume is also of interest to scholars in advertising, branding, communication, consumer studies, cultural studies, marketing, media studies, political communication and sociology.

part |116 pages

Origins and overviews

chapter |13 pages

History as a source of critique

Historicity and knowledge, societal change, activism and movements

chapter |11 pages

The public sphere and PR

Deliberative democracy and agonistic pluralism

chapter |16 pages

Sanitising or reforming PR?

Exploring “trust” and the emergence of critical public relations

part |94 pages

Orientations and reorientations

chapter |9 pages

Critical discourse analysis

A search for meaning and power

chapter |11 pages

Changes to be encouraged

Radical turns in PR theorisation and small-step evolutions in PR practice

chapter |11 pages

A reflexive perspective on public relations

On leaving traditional thinking and uncovering the taken-for-granted

chapter |13 pages

Double deconstruction

Transparency, dialogue and social media from a critical post-structuralist perspective

chapter |14 pages

“Critical public relations is so critical!”

Objections, counter-objections, and practical applications to critical-cultural public relations work

part |107 pages

Perspectives from different locations

chapter |13 pages

A post-socialist/communist perspective

From foreign-imposed to home-grown transitional public relations

chapter |9 pages

Public relations and humanitarian communication

From persuasion to the creation of a community of equals

chapter |13 pages

Science, medicine, and the body

How public relations blurs lines across individual and public health

chapter |13 pages

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Critical Public Relations as a cure for Media Studies' fear of the dark

chapter |15 pages

The need for critical thinking in country promotion

Public diplomacy, nation branding, and public relations

chapter |14 pages

Critical race and public relations

The case of environmental racism and risk bearer agency

part |96 pages

Ways forward

chapter |14 pages

Deconstructing Japan's PR

Where is the public?

chapter |11 pages

Expanding critical space

Public intellectuals, public relations, and an “outsider” contribution

chapter |12 pages

Algorithmic public relations

Materiality, technology and power in a post-hegemonic world

chapter |10 pages

Being social

Creating a critical commons with public relations practice

chapter |12 pages

Pushing boundaries

A critical cosmopolitan orientation to public relations

chapter |10 pages

Public relations and sustainable citizenship

Towards a goal of representing the unrepresented