The Public Relations of Everything: The Ancient, Modern and Postmodern Dramatic History of an Idea (Routledge New Directions in Public Relations & Communication Research)

The Public Relations of Everything: The Ancient, Modern and Postmodern Dramatic History of an Idea (Routledge New Directions in Public Relations & Communication Research)

Robert E. Brown

Language: English

Pages: 238

ISBN: 0415640458

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The public relations of "everything" takes the radical position that public relations is a profoundly different creature than a generation of its scholars and teachers have portrayed it. Today, it is clearly no longer limited, if it ever has been, to the management of communication in and between organizations. Rather, it has become an activity engaged in by everyone, and for the most basic human reasons: as an act of self-creation, self-expression, and self-protection. The book challenges both popular dismissals and ill-informed repudiations of public relations, as well as academic and classroom misconceptions.

In the age of digitization and social media, everyone with a smart phone, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and the will and skill to use them, is in the media. The PR of everything – the ubiquitousness of public relations – takes a perspective that is less concerned with ideas of communication and information than with experience and drama, a way of looking at public relations inside out, upside down and from a micro rather than a macro level.

Based on a combination of the research of PR practice and critical-thinking analysis of theory, and founded in the author’s extensive corporate experience, this book will be invaluable reading for scholars and practitioners alike in Public Relations, Communications and Social Media.

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Center, A. H.: Effective Public Relations 148 Chex 123 Chomsky, N. 16, 42, 43, 76, 96, 129, 141 Christianity 33–4, 59, 68, 91, 99, 110, 121, 122, 173; Pauline 123 Churchill, W. 13, 77, 96 Cialdini, R. 124, 125 Ciulich, L. B.: I Ricordi di Michelangelo 110 clarity 150–6; ideology 154–5; official ethics 153–4; performing transparency 155–6 Clinton, B. 27, 33, 155 Cohen, B. 141–2 comedy 25–6, 43, 125, 151, 181, 182, 183; summer 176, 177–8, 179 Cone, C. L. 63–4 The Colbert Report 139

nations by America. In a similarly harsh vein, Guy Debord mashed up PR, advertising, and hyperconsumerism as the quintessentially American creation of the dystopia he called “the society of the spectacle” (Debord, 2000). These critiques of PR can be distinguished by whether they imagine PR to be visible and ridiculous, or hidden and tragic. In the latter perspectives – those of Chomsky and Debord – the unstated assumption about PR is that it is work – regrettable and egregious, but work,

unmerited publicity, PR is largely a backstage phenomenon. Advertising, unlike Cordelia, is rarely modest or silent. Unlike the patented invisibility of a media placement by a PR firm, an advertisement appears on the stage fully dressed (or in the sensual case of beer commercials, partially undressed). It isn’t PR itself that reaches our notice, but the result of its staging and orchestration. PR has the invisibility of the songwriter, not the charisma of the singer. In The Fall of Advertising

technician (Broom & Smith, 1979). What’s missing from such a theory of roles is, among other things, the practitioner’s experience of emotion as well as her activity as a performer and her imaginative play. The serious, even dour, idea of the practitioner’s role skims the surface of what has been increasingly observable in the screen-mediated interactions of PR practitioners. For, like the rest of the wired world, practitioners live their lives on several screens and multiple platforms. Their

remained the gold standard of communication. However, if communication is characterized by anything, it isn’t clarity. It’s ambiguity. Clarity is, like symmetry theory, normative. An ideal. An aspiration. It is rarely, if ever, achieved. It very achievement is to a certain extent quixotic. Ambiguity leading to misunderstanding is coin of the realm not only for negotiations of organizations and stakeholders, but between nations, regions, religions, teams, tribes, married couples and friends. Such

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