Public Relations in a Postmodern World
Chapter 2: Postmodernism, Public Relations, and Neo-PR
Postmodernism, Public Relations, and Neo-PR
Oneness, or more to the point, the criticism of oneness and absoluteness, lies at the heart of much postmodernistic thinking. This is essentially the idea of pluralism versus homogeneity. In addition to criticisms of science and technology (and the dangers of relying too much on them), postmodernism also sees many problems with the ideas of absolute truth, absolute morals—and absolute objectivity. From this core criticism, we can examine postmodernism in a bit more depth and begin to apply it to public relations practice.
As we saw with our discussion of modernism, postmodernism is certainly subject to wide varieties of interpretations and definitions. It seems that many different fields have conceptualized postmodernism in ways that are most appropriate to particular areas. For example, art historians can and do examine postmodernism in the context of perceived and/or real changes in artistic styles. Cultural studies scholars conceive of postmodernism as having impacted that sphere in very specific ways. Philosophy, political science, literature…and communication—the list goes on and on. As a result, it can be argued that in the multitude of attempts to define and clarify what postmodernism is, the picture has become even more clouded. Even opinions about the usefulness of understanding postmodernism range from indifference and boredom, to intrigue and excitement. Holtzhausen correctly notes that attempts to apply postmodern theories to public relations are “a nomadic journey, across many paradigms and scientific domains” (2000, p. 98)...
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