A postcolonial critique of public relations

Authored by: Mohan J. Dutta

The Routledge Handbook of Critical Public Relations

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415727334
eBook ISBN: 9781315852492
Adobe ISBN: 9781317918868


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Postcolonial theory examines closely the processes and artifacts that produce colonialism, the problematics and contexts of colonialism, and the processes of transformation in the decolonizing project (Shome & Hegde, 2002). In opening up a conversation between postcolonial theory and communication studies, Shome and Hegde (2002) offered that the “politics of postcoloniality is centrally imbricated with the politics of communication” (p. 249). Situating interpretation and meaning as constitutive of the global processes of erasure integral to unequal imperial formations attends to the politics of knowledge production amid global histories, geographies, and colonial modernities (Chakrabarty, 2009; Shome & Hegde, 2002). Public relations, broadly understood as the strategic deployment of meanings to shape public opinion and public relationships through persuasion, circulates these knowledge claims as universal values that work toward maintaining the global inequalities along the lines of race, nation, gender, and imperialism (McKie & Munshi, 2007; Munshi, 1999). A postcolonial critique of public relations attends to the interplays of culture and power in processes of communication within the realm of geopolitics, unequal power relationships, and colonial relationships of exploitation and oppression.

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