Date: June 6th 2017

Reminder – CFP deadline 15 June 2017

‘PR and society: The generative power of history in the present and future’

A one-day conference in honour of Professor Jacquie L’Etang

Organised by the Organisational and Strategic Communication Section of ECREA

13-14 November 2017

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

This conference will mark the contribution of one of the major critical
scholars in our field, Professor Jacquie L’Etang, who retired from Queen
Margaret University in November 2015.

Professor L’Etang has been a major influence on the development of the
field since she began writing on public relations in the early 1990s. A
prolific and imaginative scholar, she has always challenged boundaries,
assumptions and models of public relations. Her work unmasks and
deconstructs power relations both within and outwith the academy, and
prompted new ways of thinking about the field and its practices. Twenty
years after her first seminal contribution with Magda Pieczka, Critical
Perspectives in Public Relations (International Thomson Business Press,
1996), the scholarly field of public relations is increasingly
interdisciplinary, multi-paradigmatic and more open to critique and
challenge than ever before.

In this conference, we use as our starting point the original meaning of
history, which has its roots in the Greek word ἱστορία , translated by
the Romans as historia meaning ‘an inquiry’ or ‘knowledge acquired by
investigation’. The theme of history reflects Professor L’Etang’s
interest in historical inquiry, but we also use it generatively, as a
springboard for engaging with interdisciplinary, critical and complex
issues in the present as well as the past, that public relations
scholarship needs to address. In this sense, history has a place in
contemporary experience and historical excursions are necessary whenever
the present is being investigated. As James Baldwin notes:

‘History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be
read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On
the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we
carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and
history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be
otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference,
our identities, and our aspirations.’ (James Baldwin, The Price of the
Ticket, 1965).

Our aim in this conference is to open up questions of how histories are
put to use by people in different ways in order to explore how the past
is constructed from the present; how the present is always historical,
and how both past and present power imagined futures. We welcome work
that applies this generative approach to the question of power and
resistance explored from the perspective of promotional communication
(management) and traced across different phenomena (e.g. organizations,
institutions, networks, societies) and fields of activity (e.g. sport,
education, business, activism, government, arts). We invite submissions
adopting a critical and interdisciplinary approach to topics which
include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

• Profession

• Inequality, discrimination and social exclusion

• Influence and social change

• Theory/Historiography

• Culture

• Race/ethnicity

• National identity

• International communication

• Public diplomacy

• Corporate social responsibility

• Rhetoric

*Abstract submissions*

1000 word abstracts should be submitted to Professor Øyvind Ihlen, <>; by 15 June
2017. Notification of acceptance sent out by 30 July 2017. For questions
about submissions or other enquiries about the conference, please email
a member of the organising committee:

Lee Edwards, <>;

Øyvind Ihlen, <>;

Magda Pieczka, <>;

Ian Somerville, <>;

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