Call for papers: PRism Journal 2011 Special Issue

Call for Papers: Segmenting Publics

Topic summary
This special call asks the question, what is the climate of publics-based research in public relations, and what are current challenges and approaches to the strategic segmentation of publics by organisations?

Vasquez and Taylor (2001) asserted, ”the public is often understood as a means to an organization’s end goal. Publics are, however, an integral part of public relations practice, and as a communicatively constructed social phenomenon, they deserve serious attention” (pp. 139-140). The common definition used to define a public stems from Dewey’s (1927) understanding of the public: a group of individuals that organically emerge when impacted by a problem and who share a common interest in solving that common problem. However, although the public is the core concept of public relations, it is not well-defined or evolved to fit current media, political, and organisational climates.

The purpose of this special issue is to re-examine and question the basic set of assumptions about publics and serve as the natural extension of Vasquez and Taylor’s (2001) call to explore publics in greater depth and through multiple prisms: ”The challenge for public relations scholars and professionals is twofold: to demystify the ambiguity of a public and to link theory with practice for more effective relationships with publics” (p. 154). The purpose of this special issue is to explore recent developments within the current segmentation theories, to highlight other theories that communicators can use to segment and prioritise publics, to highlight how publics are dynamic and socially constructed phenomena that simple aggregative techniques cannot measure, and to demonstrate how these approaches have been used in practice.

See more detail at:

Potential Manuscript Topics

This call for papers invites research that explores new facets and approaches to conceptualising and segmenting publics. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
• Cultural identity factors in understanding and segmenting publics
• Intersectionality and the use of this theory in understanding publics
• Evaluation and measurement of segmentation
• Impact of culture, ethnicity, and globalization on the segmentation of publics
• Development of methods to segment publics
• Use of social media and Web 2.0 technologies to explore segmentation
• Application of segmentation approaches to reach publics
• The role that internal diversity of practitioners plays in the understanding of diverse publics
• Theories of public-specific communication (e.g., according to identities like race, gender, class, sexual orientation, role identity [e.g., as a parent, as a student, as a community activist], nationality, among other identities, as well as according to situations)

This issue will be prepared during 2011 for publication before the end of that year.

Submission deadline: JANUARY 28, 2011

Queries: If you have questions about this CFP or would like to express interest in being part of this exciting project in 2011, please contact the guest editors Natalie Tindall  and/or Jennifer Vardeman-Winter jvardema@Central.UH.EDU

Om jesperstromback

Professor i journalistik och politisk kommunikation
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