Introduction: Power - it's personal and public

Johanna Fawkes, Kevin Moloney

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Abstract

A powerful reason for accepting the invitation to write about power and public relations is authorial awareness of the impact of power on our own lives. We note that at the level of felt, communicative experiences in personal and professional lives, symmetry does not much figure. Why should it be otherwise? Symmetry is a much-elevated feature of public relations academic thinking; though we note no other academic discipline puts it in so egregious a position. We also note that it figures little in most other spheres of life. But power invades all spheres. We imagine it as a modelling system, controlled by externalities and internalities, that has given shape to much of our lives. We experience its complexity for we recognise (and feel) the multiple meanings of power signalled in the literature: power over people and things; power to increase capacities in self, people and things; its multiple forms, from 'hard' to 'soft'. Power heavily influences, if not determines, contours of our lives. It produces blocks and paths. Birth issues you into social strata of class, gender, health, culture, education, jobs and people networks. The power modelling done to you and by you produces fewer or more blockages and paths forward. It produces the shape of life that character has to work with. To think about power and public relations is, therefore, only a few moments away from feeling power as an immanent experience in life. Do you feel it? We do and here is our tracing of its contours on and in ourselves, our reflexive relationship with it. We also reflect on the power relations of our co-authorship. We look at the literature and offer an overview of current thinking on power and public relations. JF reflects on some implications of that thinking while KM ends with a new approach, perhaps, to power and public relations, which he calls fusion public relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalPrism
Volume9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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