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Becoming a profession: crafting professional identities in public relations / Cara, Reed

Swansea University Author: Cara, Reed

Abstract

Since its beginnings in the WWI propaganda machine, public relations (PR)has had a murky image as the influential force at the sidelines of powerful groups in society. Despite this shadowy existence, the predominant professional body for PR, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)has look...

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Published: 2013
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa28081
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first_indexed 2016-05-20T01:19:08Z
last_indexed 2018-02-09T05:11:50Z
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spelling 2016-05-19T12:12:55.0591544 v2 28081 2016-05-19 Becoming a profession: crafting professional identities in public relations eac785df90b2eef0da109b2686386cb3 0000-0003-1085-1661 Cara Reed Cara Reed true false 2016-05-19 BBU Since its beginnings in the WWI propaganda machine, public relations (PR)has had a murky image as the influential force at the sidelines of powerful groups in society. Despite this shadowy existence, the predominant professional body for PR, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)has looked to professionalise the industry. This research explores how these tensions and ontradictions play out in the construction of professional identities by examining the on-going construction, contestation and attempted closure of a professional body within a wider web of power relations, and its relationship and resonance with those practicing PR. Utilising a combination of interviews, participant observation and document analysis, the thesis argues that discourses circulating in texts generated by the CIPR constructs the subject position of the PR professional as someone who is committed to continual development and learning through the professional body’s credentialised resources. Nevertheless, this professional subject position isn’t always salient in practitioners’ identity work where the majority of ractitioners draw on alternative discourses that centre on their level of experience and access to powerful networks. The dominant subject position that PR practitioners construct in their identity work is that of shapeshifter: someone who continually adapts their performance of identity with different audiences in order to do their job. This indicates that the CIPR needs to consider how its professional subject position can reflect practitioners’ experience of their work as centring on relationships and adaptation to different contexts. As such, this research contributes to the literature on identities and knowledge work by highlighting the importance of the shapeshifter identity whilst also providing a more nuanced appreciation of how ambiguity operates in knowledge workers’ identity construction. It also contributes to the sociology of the professions by demonstrating that closure and credentialism are not the most salient discourses for the modern professional. Thesis identities, profession, knowledge work, becoming, PR 1 4 2013 2013-04-01 COLLEGE NANME Business COLLEGE CODE BBU Swansea University ESRC studentship 2016-05-19T12:12:55.0591544 2016-05-19T11:36:28.0499352 School of Management Human Resource Management and Organisational Studies Cara Reed 0000-0003-1085-1661 1
title Becoming a profession: crafting professional identities in public relations
spellingShingle Becoming a profession: crafting professional identities in public relations
Cara, Reed
title_short Becoming a profession: crafting professional identities in public relations
title_full Becoming a profession: crafting professional identities in public relations
title_fullStr Becoming a profession: crafting professional identities in public relations
title_full_unstemmed Becoming a profession: crafting professional identities in public relations
title_sort Becoming a profession: crafting professional identities in public relations
author_id_str_mv eac785df90b2eef0da109b2686386cb3
author_id_fullname_str_mv eac785df90b2eef0da109b2686386cb3_***_Cara, Reed
author Cara, Reed
format Staff Thesis
publishDate 2013
institution Swansea University
college_str School of Management
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hierarchy_top_id schoolofmanagement
hierarchy_top_title School of Management
hierarchy_parent_id schoolofmanagement
hierarchy_parent_title School of Management
department_str Human Resource Management and Organisational Studies{{{_:::_}}}School of Management{{{_:::_}}}Human Resource Management and Organisational Studies
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description Since its beginnings in the WWI propaganda machine, public relations (PR)has had a murky image as the influential force at the sidelines of powerful groups in society. Despite this shadowy existence, the predominant professional body for PR, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)has looked to professionalise the industry. This research explores how these tensions and ontradictions play out in the construction of professional identities by examining the on-going construction, contestation and attempted closure of a professional body within a wider web of power relations, and its relationship and resonance with those practicing PR. Utilising a combination of interviews, participant observation and document analysis, the thesis argues that discourses circulating in texts generated by the CIPR constructs the subject position of the PR professional as someone who is committed to continual development and learning through the professional body’s credentialised resources. Nevertheless, this professional subject position isn’t always salient in practitioners’ identity work where the majority of ractitioners draw on alternative discourses that centre on their level of experience and access to powerful networks. The dominant subject position that PR practitioners construct in their identity work is that of shapeshifter: someone who continually adapts their performance of identity with different audiences in order to do their job. This indicates that the CIPR needs to consider how its professional subject position can reflect practitioners’ experience of their work as centring on relationships and adaptation to different contexts. As such, this research contributes to the literature on identities and knowledge work by highlighting the importance of the shapeshifter identity whilst also providing a more nuanced appreciation of how ambiguity operates in knowledge workers’ identity construction. It also contributes to the sociology of the professions by demonstrating that closure and credentialism are not the most salient discourses for the modern professional.
published_date 2013-04-01T12:44:40Z
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score 10.868844