• Summary
  • Contents

The SAGE Key Concepts series provides students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension.

Key Concepts in Public Relations:

  • Provides a comprehensive, easy-to-use overview to the field
  • Covers over 150 central concepts in PR
  • Paves the way for students to tackle primary texts
  • Grounds students in both practice and theory
  • Takes it further with recommended reading

Early pioneers of public relations in America, such as Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays, were heavily influenced by theories from social psychology and Freudian psychoanalysis concerning influence over the behaviour and attitude of the ‘masses’. Stuart Ewen's historical account cites Lee as suggesting that ‘Publicity is essentially a matter of mass psychology’ (1996: 132), and these early practitioners had no ethical or practical issues in deliberately employing traditional tools of propaganda in their PR work. Bernays talked of the processes of ‘engineering consent’ in the populace using such techniques (see manufacturing consent).

Historically such explicit links with overt propaganda became unpalatable after the fascist and communist experiences of the mid-20th century, but whether PR practice can be differentiated from propaganda, deceit and manipulation continues to be ...

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