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[Commlist] ICA postconference on The impact of public relations and promotional communication on human rights, inequalities and social justice: Interdisciplinary reflections and future directions

Tue Jan 23 22:54:29 GMT 2024

*The impact of public relations and promotional communication on human rights, inequalities and social justice: Interdisciplinary reflections and future directions*

ICA 2024 Post-Conference

25 June 2024, Tuesday 25 June, 09:30-17:00, Gardens Point Campus, Room P419

Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

Division Sponsors: Public Relations and Popular Media and Culture

*Call for Papers*

Over the past decades, interest has grown in the importance of public relations and other forms of promotional communication for both dominant groups and activist movements resisting domination and promoting change. In the context of promotional culture (Davis, 2013), detailed and nuanced analyses of everyday promotional practices appear in a wide range of scholarly fields. A wide range of interdisciplinary insights (e.g. political economy, humanitarian communication, cultural studies, queer theory, feminist theory, post-colonial theory, critical race theory) have provided new ways of interrogating the power exercised by promotional professions in these contexts.

These detailed analyses of the promotional professions’ political, economic and socio-cultural impact, embrace theories and empirical sites that extend our thinking far beyond functional deconstructions of organisational practice in the global North and West. They reorient our scholarship to consider how promotion can be used flexibly, in a range of settings and using a range of tools, for collective rather than individual ends – giving voice to subaltern groups and supporting their struggles (Chaidaroon & Hou, 2021; Dutta, 2016), as well as providing agency in global crises such as climate change (Munshi and Kurian, 2021).

Nonetheless, opportunities still exist to enrich and develop existing work by adopting a more interdisciplinary and collaborative approach. Conversations about public relations and promotional practices between colleagues with different disciplinary underpinnings (e.g. public relations and humanitarian communication; critical consumption studies and environmental communication) have the potential to expand the theoretical and empirical topographies of our investigations.

In this post-conference, we aim to extend the potential of existing research by fostering productive, interdisciplinary conversations between scholars from across media and communications who have an interest in the influence of public relations and other promotional professions on struggles over rights, inequalities and social justice. Papers will respond to the main conference theme and align with recent calls to adopt a more human-centred and socially impactful approach to research (Ciszek, Place, & Logan, 2022; Munshi & Kurian, 2020; Waisbord, 2020). We invite papers that engage critically with PR and other promotional industries, tools and practices, as well as the ambivalence that promotion introduces both for those who claim rights and recognition, and for those who try to preserve their own power and privilege.

We welcome submissions from scholars at all stages of their career, a wide spectrum of disciplinary perspectives, as well as contributions that focus on marginalised locations and populations, and forms of promotion that have received limited attention from scholars thus far. Submissions may address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

 1. What role can PR and promotional practice play in making sense of
    and healing the widespread suffering of human and non-human beings?
 2. What tensions and contradictions characterise the ways in which PR
    and promotional tools are used to pursue human rights, social
    justice and equality?
 3. What methodological challenges might an orientation towards human
    rights, inequalities and social justice bring for research on PR and
    promotional communication?
 4. How can scholars of PR and promotion reconcile the contemporary
    ‘wicked problems’ that underpin current global crises, with the
    theoretical tools at their disposal? What new theories and methods
    are needed to address these crises?
 5. What can a more robust theoretical and empirical ‘conversation’
    between scholars of public relations and promotional communication
    offer, in the pursuit of more impactful, justice-oriented scholarship?
 6. In what ways do PR and promotional theories shed light on
    contemporary crises, and how can the empirical reality of
    contemporary crises extend our theoretical thinking?
 7. Within a socio-political landscape characterized by acute
    polarization that makes dialogic, deliberative communication
    difficult, what can critical theory offer to scholars of PR and
    promotional communication?
 8. How can PR and promotional research and practice address the
    structural inequalities and systematic issues that prevent the
    fulfilment of human rights across different contexts (e.g.,
    environmental crisis, health care, disaster management)?
 9. How can PR and promotional communications leverage/navigate the
    advantages of digital technology, tools, and platforms to advance
    rights, equality and social justice, while not losing sight of the
    entrenched digital divisions across different socio-cultural groups?
10. What (new) insights can a critical, human-centred approach to PR and
    promotional communication theory and practice provide about our
    collective (in)humanity in the digital age?
*Abstract submission and notification of acceptance*

Abstracts of *500 words* should be submitted to the conference email: (PromoPostCon2024 /at/ <mailto:(PromoPostCon2024 /at/> by* 9 February 2024.* Submissions should include author names, affiliations, and the contact information for the corresponding author.

Acceptance notifications will be provided by February 23, 2024 and the full programme will be released on 26 April 2024. Any questions about the post-conference or submission may be directed to the**conference email, (PromoPostCon2024 /at/ <mailto:(PromoPostCon2024 /at/>



Lee Edwards, London School of Economics and Political Science,(l.edwards2 /at/ <mailto:(l.edwards2 /at/>

E. Ciszek, UT Austin, (eciszek /at/ <mailto:(eciszek /at/>

Jenny Hou, Queensland University of Technology, (jenny.hou /at/ <mailto:(jenny.hou /at/>

Kate Fitch, Monash University, (kate.fitch /at/ <mailto:(kate.fitch /at/>

*Cost: *USD $50 / AUS$75

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