Public Relations


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Public Relations is concerned with the theory and practice of communication between organizations and specified publics.

Members are concerned with developing a greater understanding of the theoretic basis for effective communication through both laboratory and practice of communication between organizations and specified publics. Members have research interests in such issues as target group analysis, internal/external communication integration, systems analysis and channel effectiveness. At the same time the Division is concerned with the application of theoretic advances for the solution of pragmatic public relations problems.

Members share communication techniques developed to accomplish specific Public Relations goals of consultant clients, or corporate employers. The Division goals include the development of a consulting network, a long range research program and investigation into the issues of public relations education accreditation and curriculum development.

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Barcelona International PR 2015 Conference

Barcelona, June 30th and July 1st 2015

*****Call For Papers*****

We are pleased to announce that Barcelona International PR Meeting #5 will take place next 30th June and 1st July, 2015 in Barcelona. The fifth edition of the conference is entitled:

Theory in Practice in Public Relations through to the Fully-Functioning Society: Papers in Honor of Professor Robert Heath

Almost a decade on, although the names of the planets may vary, few would deny van Ruler's (2005) identification of a massive gap in her claim that "Professionals are from Venus, Scholars are from Mars." Yet a history of interplanetary communication can be found in Professor Bob Heath's distinguished career in consulting and the academy. This conference wish to honor those achievements not just by recognizing the work but by evaluating the legacy and by building on it. Such is the range of his oeuvre, and the multiple linking of theory and practice, that this puts few limitations on this call for papers. Accordingly, while we particularly welcome proposals for papers or panels that draw from, or contest, his work on PR issues, PR Theory, Crisis, Rhetoric, Risk, and the Fully-Functioning Society, we are also open to general papers in those areas not linked to Heath's work.

*****Deadline for abstr*cts*****

To submit an abstract for an individual presentation of between 250-300

words) or a panel (3 presenters maximum and overall submission to have

250 word abstract and 3 shorter abstracts up to 200 words each: February 16, 2015 []

Acceptance notification  will be no later than February 23,2015

David McKie, Ferran Lalueza, and Jordi Xifra Scientific Committee






Organizing Committee

Barcelona PR Meeting #5

International PR 2015 Conference us on Facebook and Twitter:



INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS: Perspectives from Deeply Divided Societies

A book edited by

Dr Ian Somerville (University of Ulster), Prof Owen Hargie (University of Ulster), Prof Maureen Taylor (University of Oklahoma) & Dr Margalit Toledano (University of Waikato)


Published by Routledge as part of the New Directions in Public Relations and Communication Research series


This original edited collection will explore how studies of public relations practice in deeply divided, conflict and post-conflict societies may contribute to theory building in the field of public relations. The volume aims to provide a valuable, empirically based, resource for scholars and educators wishing to explore perspectives on public relations from both the global north and the global south. This book assists in the understanding of public relations in complex socio-cultural environments as well as mapping out a new research agenda in a hitherto under-developed area. Much contemporary mainstream public relations research demonstrates the hegemony of functionalist frameworks and particularly the success of ‘excellence theory’ (Pieczka 2006; Porter, 2010). This collection is positioned within the critical public relations stream and as such will challenge and interrogate a paradigm which as Gregory and Hallf (2013: 419) note often results in ‘American models of practice, as conducted by the large consultancies and corporate organizations, held up as exemplars.’ A key aim of this book then is to question whether the theory building, and ensuing public relations/communication models, developed in ‘normal’ societies (such as the USA) have an application to the many countries in the world which are divided by deep societal cleavages along racial, ethnic, religious or linguistic lines. The editors of this collection concur with the view ‘that public relations both as a practice and an academic discipline needs a more thorough integration of the diverse local to do justice to globalization’ (Gregory and Hallf, 2013: 417). This volume will make an important contribution to that aim.


Definitions used in the book:

Public relations – is defined as an activity employed by a wide range of actors (governments, organizations, individuals) to promote or challenge competing discourses in order to facilitate a favourable position within local, national and global contexts (Daymon and Demetrious, 2013). This definition obviously highlights the political role of public relations practice in purposively influencing the meaning-making process and acknowledges what has been termed the ‘socio-cultural turn’ (Edwards and Hodges, 2011) in public relations theory. It is this intersection of public relations practice with socio-political environments in divided, conflict and post-conflict societies, which will be a key focus of this book. Scholars writing from within any paradigm are welcome, but it is expected that all contributors in their will work demonstrate reflexivity and recognize the power relations inherent in any public relations activity.


Deeply divided, conflict and post-conflict societies – Guelke (2012) notes that a “deeply divided society,” is one where violence or the threat of violence keeps it divided. Deeply divided societies find making peace and reconciliation difficult, if not impossible, to achieve mainly due to an inability to agree on a common process for decision-making. Although we are broadly in agreement with Guelke’s definition it is worth pointing out that a country like Switzerland can be, and is, described as a deeply divided society (see Hega, 2011) not because there is a danger of slippage into violent conflict but because it is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-linguistic state. Thus, in this collection, a ‘deeply divided society’ will include both conflicted societies, societies which are in a post-conflict phase and societies which may well have had no history of violence for a considerable period of time.


Focus of the chapters:

The idea for this book emerged from a European Communication Research and Education (ECREA) conference on ‘Public Relations in Divided Societies’ in Belfast (June 2013) which attracted scholars from all five continents and created widespread interest and a debate about how to take the project further. The book progresses this project to a more advanced level by offering a collection of original, empirically based chapters by a range of leading international authors.  All chapters will:

  • employ a critical reflective lens in the problematizing of the applicability of contemporary mainstream public relations theory
  • draw on literature from the fields of public relations and where appropriate other disciplines such as; peace and conflict studies, politics, international relations
  • present findings which are grounded in original research
  • reflect upon the ideological underpinnings and interrogate thoroughly the theoretical assumptions employed to analyse research findings 
  • provide appropriate context and analysis to the specific society case

Target Audience: University libraries, academics, doctoral and Masters students.


  • 1st December 2014      Submission of chapter proposal (max 1000 words) to:                                                                         
  • 20th December 2014   Notification of acceptance
  • 1st May 2015               First draft of manuscript for review
  • 30th August 2015         Second draft of manuscript for review. 
  • 15th November 2015   Submission of revised manuscript.
  • 15th December 2015   Complete manuscript submitted to Routledge


Daymon, C and Demetrious, K. (eds.) 2013. Gender and public relations:  Critical perspectives on voice, image, and identity, London: Routledge.

Edwards, L and Hodges, C.E.M. (2011) ‘Introduction: Implications of a radical socio-cultural 'turn' in public relations scholarship’, In: Edwards, L and Hodges, C.E.M. (eds.) Public relations, society and culture: Theoretical and empirical explorations. London: Routledge.

Gregory, A. and Halff, G., (2013) ‘Divided we stand: Defying hegemony in global public relations theory and practice?’ Public Relations Review, 39 (5), 417-425.

Guelke, A., (2012) Politics in Deeply Divided Societies, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Hega, G. M., (2011) ‘The Political Functions of Education in Deeply-Divided Countries. Coming Together Apart: The Case of Switzerland’ in T. Hanf (Ed.): The Political Function of Education in Deeply Divided Countries, Nomos Verlag: Baden-Baden, p. 233-256.

Porter, L., (2010) ‘Communicating for the good of the state: A post-symmetric polemic on persuasion in ethical public relations’ Public Relations Review, 36 (4), 127-133.

United States Institute for Peace

Uppsala Conflict Data Program




  • Jennifer L. Bartlett, Chair
  • Chiara Valentini, Vice-Chair
  • Lee Edwards, Secretary
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