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PR or public relations

PR is a communication side-effect and downgrade of public relations. PR is true (not linguistic) abbreviation of public relations. Using PR instead of public relations reveals a person that is incapable/unwilling/uninterested to express complexity of life since he does not understand it in the first place (nether life nor complexity).

This side-effect was in fact planted already by Edvard Bernays (Freud’s nephew), who expressed then contemporary obsession of industrial society: domination. From “domination” to “propaganda” and from there to “spin-doctor” is only a step. Spinning: manipulate to reach a target.

Theories that tried to upgrade his theory emerged later. Like the one from James Grunning with a model of two-way symmetrical communication; and the one of Jon White that formulated public relations as a relationship management; but…

But the “public” praise and understanding goes more and more to cases that are easy recognized as clever manifestations of promotion of companies and personalities or even as a clever utilization of PR tools to support product promotion (marketing communication). Thus it should not surprise us that in this moment we can find more public relations in Aarhus Convention than in practice that holds the name of public relations. It should not surprise us that public relation is more and more a daily practice of NGO’s that would otherwise strongly disassociate with PR as a tool of manipulation. It should not surprise us that lawyers and solicitors often take the real role of public relations practitioners while “real practitioners” take care of sales or shift to academic safe heaven.

Those that are (should be) guardians of public relations practice are in fact forgetting that we are not living an a society in which a domination/power is the only solution. It will remain that language is primarily a tool for domination – but it is true that the end result of multiple domination is cooperation and participation. Wisdom and beauty co-define language and communication. It is natural selection that governs evolution; but one of evolutionary results is also altruism.

For public relations practitioner there is no other future than expressing life in it’s wide variety and not “communication practice” or even” promotions”. Communication skills are negligible part of true communicator. To manipulate or not to manipulate is not a question, for language is primarily manipulation. But there is huge difference between the one that manipulates only and the one that understand necessary manipulation in the context of all other communication functions. Former is a part of PR and later of public relations.

Andrej Drapal

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