Public Relations, Capitalism and Democracy – Public Relations and Development: two provoKations from my excellent students

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I have just concluded my course on global relations and intercultural communication at NYU in New York.

The intense interaction with 10 highly committed graduate students –two Russian, three American, one Brazilian, one Colombian, one British, one Singaporean– allowed me the opportunity to review some of my less resilient stereotypes and learn much more from them than each of them individually from me.
That is the beauty of communication -even in the non symmetric environment of a classroom.
The added value mostly derives from the interaction of ideas, opinions and discussions.

Allow me to share with you two truly meaningful and enlightening final papers.
By reading them, you may well understand what goes on in the seven-in-a-row-six-hour Saturday classes and, more importantly, in between those Saturdays when students –after initially having read three basic course books
a) Redefining the Corporation (Post, Preston and Sachs);
b) the latest edition of the Gobal Public Relations Handbook (Vercic and Sriramesh);
and
c) the recent edition of Online Public Relations (Phillips and Young) –

feverishly discuss amongst themselves in virtual forums three issues proposed at the end of the preceding Saturday, as well as browse through an average of eight advanced reading materials papers related to the following Saturday.

The two papers I submit to your perusal are by Catalina Hernandez, Colombian and by Elizabeth Ghormley, American.

I am of course well aware of my bias, but I trust the other eight students will appreciate that these two papers are outstanding, mostly in the sense that, from radically different perspectives, they intelligently and critically capture the essentials and navigate through the course, making sense of the journey as well as adding value.

Catalina takes a systemic and organizational view of global public relations to argue its strategic role as well as shed new light on its relationships with the development of capitalism and democracy.

Elizabeth instead challenges the professional community by affirming and rationalizing the value of public relations to social development and arguing the case for a postmodernist approach by corporations to create new markets by alleviating poverty and introducing me (at least) to the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ concept..

I am confident readers will notice the wide spectrum of citations from all over the world, which normally do not flock our more established academic name dropping.
And this is another of the beauties of the course as many of those names come directly from student curiosity and were unknown to their instructor!

Enjoy, criticise, discuss and I wish you all a happy and serene holiday period.

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