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Public Relations

A. A. Betteke van Ruler and Robert L. Heath


However timeless the practice of public relations (PR) is ( Heath 2005a ), in the manner we know today it became a robust professional practice in the latter part of the nineteenth century in the USA and in other democratized parts of the world, especially in Europe. Although often featured as a democratic process, it has nondemocratic and even propagandistic origins and applications; it is used to impose control by totalitarian regimes and corporate interests today. Its emergence in the nineteenth century paralleled the development of mass production/mass consumption society, as a means both for promoting goods and services and for engaging in public policy debates and issues management. The twentieth century witnessed the profession's development as a set of strategic best practices and an academic discipline dedicated to bringing data and theory into play through sophisticated scholarly investigation and discussion. Pedagogy swings variously between best practice and theory-/research-driven curriculum design. PR is on its way to becoming a matured practice all over the world because academic and professional development research continues toward maturity by generating a wide variety of perspectives and theoretical approaches. As conceptualized by some, PR is the art of stealthy manipulation of → public opinion , of the opinions of consumers, the general public, and politicians. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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