Engaging Worldviews, Cultures, and Structures through Dialogue: The Culture-Centered Approach to Public Relations

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Noting the role of power in the context of the globalisation politics of increasing consolidation of resources in the hands of the resource-rich, this article advances the culture-centred approach for public relations scholarship and practice. Drawing from postcolonial and subaltern studies theories, the culture-centred approach advances the concepts of contextual meanings and theorising from below that dialogically engage the voices of the grassroots, resisting the top-down Eurocentric production of knowledge that underlies the conceptualisations of democracy, capitalism, and civil society, three key conceptual threads constituting the theorising and practice of public relations. Our culturally centred theorising calls for a journey in solidarity for the researcher/practitioner with marginalised publics to co-construct meanings that challenge the hegemony of dominant structures, seeking to invert the top-down logics of power that perpetuate neoliberal hegemony, albeit under the name of democracy promotion, nation building, civil society promotion, etc. Culturally centred readings of public relations de-centre the taken-for-granted assumptions of Eurocentric practices and the power embodied in these practices, which are often framed in the language of altruism. Espousing participatory research and practice rooted in the knowledge-producing capacity of the global margins, this article challenges the dominant paradigm of public relations and its corporate agenda through resistive strategies that work in collaboration with the margins, actively seeking to invert the agendas of power that are carried out by the practices of public relations. Power is resisted through the participation of subaltern communities in discursive spaces that have served as and continue to serve as instruments of subaltern oppression.

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PRism, v. 9, issue 2