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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2021

1 Public relations and social influence: Understanding the roots of a contested profession

From the book Public Relations
Chiara Valentini

Abstract

This chapter introduces the reader to the field of public relations by offering an overview of its core function and purpose. It is argued that public relations is a profession and discipline in the field of communication science that is situated at the crossroads of other social influence disciplines. Then, the chapter presents and discusses three major points of contention in the discipline: the function of public relations, the name, and its object. Next, the chapter proposes partly solving these contentions by moving away from the dichotomic view of public relations as either a managerial function or a socio-cultural practice, and instead embrace a more fluid understanding of what public relations does based on the idea of organizing. The last part of the chapter introduces the structure of the handbook and its four distinctive parts.

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