Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2021

31 Critical reflections on the field

From the book Public Relations
Clea Bourne and Lee Edwards

Abstract

In this chapter, we argue that the effect of public relations on society merits further attention from scholars and practitioners. In particular, the advent of digitisation, algorithmic technologies and AI more generally, have been under-examined. In these areas, greater reflexivity and scrutiny of how such tools are used in the industry, and the ways they might perpetuate or challenge in-built biases, is sorely needed. In a communications landscape characterised by the co-existence of digital utopias, post-truth politics and fake news, we suggest that the challenges raised by these new technologies relate to two key issues: voice and diversity, both of which are deeply affected by digital technologies. The industry’s capacity to adequately reflect on its role in enhancing or limiting these inequalities depends on adopting a renewed ethics in pedagogy and practice that adequately equips practitioners with the reflective and analytical skills to not only use digital technologies, but also to account for their effects as part of the arsenal of communications tactics in the 21st century.

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