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2010 | Public relations : efektywne komunikowanie w teorii i praktyce | 13--26
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Public Relations : Theory and the Professional Project

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This paper argues that public relations theory to date has been focused on supporting the public relations professional project in its public legitimacy dimension rather than the work of defining and solving practical professional problems at the level of routine individual practice. This proposition is derived from a critical consideration of the concept of the profession and its understanding within the public relations literature and from an assessment of the key directions in the development of public relations theory over the last twenty years. The discussion is based on the literature written, or translated and published, in English, and therefore reflects more strongly academic efforts and interests in the English speaking countries, notably US and UK, rather than aim at a comprehensive survey of work conducted across the world. Sociological interest in professions goes back to the 19th century, as 1 have argued elsewhere, the way in which public relations tends to use the concept is indebted to the classical sociology. The work of Durkheim and Parsons is particularly important to the development of the so called traits approach which defines the profession by a number of characteristics and thus constructs an ideal-type definition. What the early writers and researchers agreed about, in fact took for granted, was the important, stabilising role that professions play in the social structure. The view was succinctly expressed by Carr-Saunders and Wilson: [...] professional organisations are stable elements in society [...] they engender modes of life, habits of thought, and standards of judgement which render them centres of resistance to crude forces which threaten steady and peaceful evolution. (fragment of text)
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