This week and next<br />Think about how we use information in public relations<br />Think about the problems inherent in information<br />This week: information as currency and power<br />Next week: the problems of controlling information among digital networks<br />
Reading<br />Benkler (2006), Chapter 9<br />Lievrouw & Livingstone (2006), Chapter 22<br />Weaver, Motion & Roper (2006): From Propaganda to Discourse (and Back again): Truth, Power, the Public Interest, and Public Relations, in L’Etang & Piezcka (Eds.) (2006), chapter 1<br />Motion & Leitch (1996) A discursive perspective from New Zealand: another world view. Public Relations Review 22(3):297-309<br />Motion & Leitch (2007) A toolbox for public relations: the oeuvre of Michel Foucault. Public Relations Review 33 (2007): 263-268<br />
What is information?<br />“Data and ideas that are identifiable, organised..., ...communicated, stored...and used in a meaningful way.” Stevens (1986), in Lievrouw and Livingstone (2006): 451<br />“A matter of measuring signals.” (Shannon & Weaver, 1964 ), ibid.<br />“Information goods”: content with an economic value<br />
1: Information-embedded goods<br />“Goods that are not themselves information, but that are better, more plentiful, or cheaper because of some technological advance embedded in them or associated with their production.” <br />Benkler (2006): 311<br />
2: Information-embedded tools<br />“Tools necessary for innovation.” <br />Benkler (2006): 312<br />E.g.: Enabling technologies for research; access to materials and compounds for experimentation<br />
4: Knowledge<br />“The set of cultural practices and capacities necessary for processing the information into either new statements in the information exchange, or...for practical use of the information...to produce more desirable actions or outcomes from action.”<br />Benkler (2006): 313<br />
Rival<br />Appropriable<br />Excludable<br />Properties and problems of information<br />
Nonrival: Giving information to one person does not reduce its availability to others<br />Non-appropriable: I still have the information after I have given it away<br />Non-excludable: there is nothing inherent in information which makes it scarce or unavailable <br />
Power<br />Power is not a thing but a relation<br />Power is not simply repressive but it is productive<br />Power is exercised through the social, and is not merely a property of or localised in the State<br />Power operates at the most micro levels of social relations and is omnipresent at every level<br />The exercise of power is strategic and warlike<br />
Power/Knowledge<br />“The exercise of power perpetually creates knowledge and, conversely, knowledge constantly induces effects of power.” (1980)<br />Foucault does NOT say that knowledge is power, but they are inextricably linked<br />Individuals and organisations deploy various strategies to conform with, circumvent or contest existing power/knowledge relations<br />Discourse provides the medium through which power/knowledge circulates<br />
“The exercise of power perpetually creates knowledge and, conversely, knowledge constantly induces effects <br />of power. The university hierarchy is only the most visible . . . and least dangerous form of this phenomenon. <br />One has to be really naïve to imagine that the effects of power linked to knowledge have their culmination in <br />university hierarchies. Diffused, entrenched and dangerous, they operate in other places than in the person of the old professor.” <br />Foucault (1980):52 <br />
Power/Knowledge: PR<br />Corp., Inc.<br />Contacts<br />Company data<br />Legal knowledge<br />Consumer data and research<br />Stakeholder<br />
Truth and power/knowledge<br />Particular knowledges gain the status of truths via their relationship to power<br />eg Judges pronounce a person guilty; that verdict establishes their guilt; acceptance of the verdict of judges reinforces the power of the legal system<br />Think about the news media’s dependence on “official sources” and its adherence to the idea of objectivity<br />
PR practitioners as discourse technologists<br />“Public relations practitioners can be seen to strategically deploy texts in discursive struggles over sociocultural practices. The aim of such discursive struggles is to maintain or to transform these sociocultural practices and the values and attitudes which support them and which they embody. Public relations practitioners are thus viewed as discourse technologists who play a central role in the maintenance and transformation of discourse.” <br />“Public relations practitioners, as discourse technologists, are actively involved in the research, redesign and training dimensions of discursive struggles to maintain or transform sociocultural practices. They act on behalf of the governments, corporations and social movements whose interests are embodied in or opposed to, existing discourses.”<br />Motion & Leitch (1996): 298, 301 <br />
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