Public Relations in a Postmodern World
Chapter 6: Penn State University
Penn State University
Best and Kellner (1991), in describing some similarities and differences among postmodern theorists write that:
…(Jurgen) Habermas’ idealized notion of consensus could be used to legitimate the manipulation of individuals and suppression of difference through celebrating consensus as the ideal of “coming to a consensus.” This concept downplays the fact the consensus is often forced and forged by the will of the stronger imposing their will on the weaker. A Lyotardian, by contrast, would stress the importance of articulating and preserving differences to avoid potential repression and manipulation. (p. 241).
I do not profess or proclaim myself to be either a Habermasian or Lyotardian. However, in the context of Neo-PR and postmodernistic public relations thinking, I believe there is value to be found in Lyotard’s notions of the articulation and preservation of differences. Indeed, these notions are well represented in the principles of Neo-PR. And there is likely no clearer example of the importance of articulating differences than in the case of the Penn State University (PSU) sexual abuse scandal.
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