Public Relations in a Postmodern World
Postmodernism has been criticized as being disruptive to social science research. Holtzhausen writes, “postmodernism has been vilified as responsible for many of the ills inherent in today’s society, creating resistance to the mere use of the term” (2000, p. 95). Indeed, there has, for too long, been an association between postmodernism, nihilism, and the breakdown of “modern” society. However, some have argued that postmodern principles can be helpful in uncovering new ways of thinking about public relations practice. Specifically, postmodernism can reveal disparities in power structures (McVie, 2001), re-conceptualize notions of meaning construction (Rosenau, 1992), and highlight the individual experience (Holtzhausen & Voto, 2002). I argue that Neo-PR can also help practitioners better understand and employ new technologies. Now, and in the foreseeable future, organizations will have to deal with “multiple voices” coming to bear on almost any public relations scenario. Multiple voices (and therefore multiple truths) do not and should not signal society’s end or a rejection of morality (as many postmodern naysayers worry). Neo-PR does not seek to deny truth(s), but to enlighten us.
In the Foreword to this book, I suggested that this work (and the principles of Neo-PR) might best be used, not only as a reader for undergraduate and graduate public relations classes but as a guide for practitioners. I present the principles of Neo-PR at the end of this Afterword, with brief notes. Tear the page out. Hang it up somewhere. Refer to it. Contemplate the implications of the...
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