Introduction: Public relations in deeply divided societies.

Ian Somerville, Owen Hargie, Maureen Taylor, Margalit Toledano

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter introduces the issue of public relations in deeply divided societies. Most empirical studies of public relations focus on the activity as it is practiced within ‘normal’ liberal democratic societies. This has had a hegemonic influence on attempts within the academy to theorize public relations with the dominance of theory and models from US scholars being a notable feature. This raises the important question of the extent to which the theory building, and ensuing public relations/communication models developed in these ‘normal’ societies have an application to the many countries in the world which are divided by deep societal cleavages along racial, ethnic, religious or linguistic lines. As this chapter shows, a key purpose of this text is to not only reflect on this question but turn it around and explore how public relations practice in divided, conflict and post-conflict societies may contribute to theory building in the field of public relations more generally. Moreover, contributions to the book help to redefine the role of public relations in society by emphasizing its potential contribution to peace building, conflict resolution, and empowering civil society. It will therefore be of interest to scholars in disciplines such as political science, international relations, and especially peace and conflict studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Public Relations: Perspectives from deeply divided societies
    EditorsIan Somerville, Owen Hargie, Maureen Taylor, Margalit Toledano
    Place of PublicationLondon
    ISBN (Print)978-1138860131
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017


    • public relations
    • divided societies
    • terrorism


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