Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2021

27 Public relations and Actor-Network Theory

From the book Public Relations
Ian Somerville

Abstract

Today we live in a time characterised by uncertainty, hybridity and complexity. A time when the powerful dualisms that characterised previous eras; nature/ society, human/machine, male/female, etc. are being problematized in a fundamental way. This chapter discusses the significance of actor-network theory (ANT) as a guide to researching the liminal times in which we live. More particularly, it explores the usefulness of ANT for understanding contemporary public relations. The chapter is divided into several sections and proceeds as follows: it discusses ANT’s philosophical approach; its relation to social theory; the strengths and limitations of ANT; what public relations scholars have produced to date by approaching public relations through ANT; and what it offers for future public relations scholarship.

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