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Beyond the Cultural Turn: A Critical Perspective on Culture-Discourse within Public Relations

Public Relations and the Power of Creativity

ISBN: 978-1-78769-292-3, eISBN: 978-1-78769-291-6

ISSN: 2398-3914

Publication date: 24 September 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter applies recent theoretical developments linked to the concept of culture to the field of public relations research and practice, notably through the prism of creativity as a vector of cultural change.

Design/Methodology/Approach

The chapter is theoretical in nature and draws on relevant scientific literature in the field of public relations research, but also the social sciences more generally, and illustrates the issues being discussed with reference to relevant public relations campaigns.

Findings

While the field of public relations has moved beyond simplistic models of cultural values and characteristics, it is argued that more complex visions of culture have been neglected. Specifically, drawing on structuration theory, culture can be seen as a ‘system-generating mechanism’ relying on creativity to uphold and renew cultural references and norms. In this perspective, public relations is both producing/reproducing culture and being produced by culture. It follows that the concept should be apprehended not as an ontological category but as a social construct, as the source of heuristic and discursive categorisations.

Social Implications

A call is issued for public relations to also question the ideological underpinnings of the production of symbols in which practitioners partake on a daily basis.

Originality/Value

While the chapter fits into an emerging body of work discussing the cultural dimension of public relations, the link with creativity and the use of structuration theory to conceptualise this link contribute to its originality.

Keywords

Citation

Frame, A. and Ihlen, . (2018), "Beyond the Cultural Turn: A Critical Perspective on Culture-Discourse within Public Relations", Public Relations and the Power of Creativity (Advances in Public Relations and Communication Management, Vol. 3), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 151-162. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2398-391420180000003009

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited