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Conclusions on the Compass, Context, Concepts, Concerns and Empirical Avenues for Public Relations

Chapter in book
Authors Øyvind Ihlen
Piet Verhoeven
Magnus Fredriksson
Published in Public Relations and Social Theory. Key Figures, Concepts and Developments (2nd Edition)
ISBN 9781138281295
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication New York
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Subject categories Sociology, Communication Studies


What should readers take away from the collective output of the essays in this book? It would be quite foolhardy to lump together the wide array of theoretical directions that have been presented here, and we are rather in awe of the sheer intellectual breadth that has been displayed by the theorists presented. A further caveat is that the task of summarizing and drawing parallels can hardly do justice to the sophisticated philosophical systems that underpin the different approaches. We also do not expect all of the contributors to agree with our views in this respect. Nonetheless, we would like to suggest that five major conclusions may be drawn from the work of the social theorists presented here for public relations. These conclusions relate to (1) what compass or what knowledge interests scholars using social theory are guided by, (2) the importance of seeing public relations in its societal context, (3) what the central concepts for public relations are, (4) what important social issues are brought to the fore by applying social theory to public relations activity and (5) the possibilities the presented approaches present for raising empirical questions about public relations. In the following, we elaborate on these five themes.

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