Show Less
Restricted access


Public Relations in a Postmodern World

Christopher Caldiero

Christopher Caldiero examines new ways of thinking about public relations practice in today’s technological and postmodern world. His concept of «Neo-PR» and its thought-provoking principles re-examines and re-frames modernistic notions of public relations for today’s burgeoning PR practitioners. The book begins by looking at the historical development of the public relations field in the context of the modernism movement of the early twentieth century. Drawing parallels to this movement, Caldiero argues that public relations practice was inevitably shaped by modernistic thinking. Using a series of recent and prevalent public relations cases, he then shines new light on different ways public relations can and must be practiced in our different world. These cases and organizations include the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon crisis, Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood, The Boy Scouts of America, Penn State University, and SeaWorld. Neo-PR: Public Relations in a Postmodern World re-conceptualizes public relations as we’ve come to know it, and helps to prepare today’s undergraduate and graduate public relations students for our postmodern world.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 3: British Petroleum’s “Voices From the Gulf”



British Petroleum’s “Voices From the Gulf”

Narrative communication, while essentially mimetic of real life, is functionally transcendent of lived experience, so that narrative constructions of knowledge or information necessarily effectuate a distancing from the lived experience they reflect or report. Stories told about and during a crisis, however, are dependent on their proximity to events for credibility—to be an eye- or ear-witness to events is to be within seeing and hearing distance of them. Thus, in crisis communication, the use of narratives can allow an organization to simultaneously position itself as situated in and removed from the crisis. The dually situational and transcendent function of narrative crisis communication is evident in British Petroleum’s use of “Voices From the Gulf” in its “Making This Right” campaign, which emerged in American public discourse in the aftermath of the April 2010 explosion and leakage of their Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico.

This chapter examines BP’s use of narratives of residents of the Gulf Coast in messages constructed as information about BP’s cleanup efforts. These narratives were circulated at critical moments in the crisis and directed to external publics (external to BP and the Gulf communities). Our objective in examining them is twofold: first, to illuminate the role of narratives, both petit or local and grand or meta, in BP’s crisis communication about the oil spill and its aftermath in the Gulf of Mexico; and second, to indicate the principles of Neo-PR...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.