Books -- Social, Political, and Economic Contexts in Public Relations: Theory and Cases by Hugh M. Culbertson, Dennis W. Jeffers, Donna Besser Stone and Martin Terrell

Article excerpt

* Culbertson, Hugh M., Dennis W. Jeffers, Donna Besser Stone, and Martin Terrell (1993). Social, Political, and Economic Contexts in Public Relations: Theory and Cases. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers. 322 pp. Paperback, $27.50.

In Social, Political, and Economic Contexts in Public Relations: Theory and Cases, Culbertson, Jeffers, Stone, and Terrell present a different perspective to the case-study learning approach: the application of social science theories and research methodologies to the analysis of public relations cases.

The authors, who have a combined 39 years of teaching experience and 23 years as public relations practitioners, begin with a chapter that describes their purposes for undertaking the book. Here, they explain what led to their belief in the need for a different approach to the case study course. They point out that the basic approaches used in other case study books emphasize publicity writing and the application of widely accepted but intuitively based principles, rather than the social science focus.

The next two chapters provide an excellent discussion of issues management, and describe how qualitative and quantitative research methods build upon each other to examine the environment of organizations. The next section examines the theoretical perspectives which enable practitioners to study the social, economic, and political contexts of clients.

Six diverse case studies based upon experiences of the authors describe how social science theories and research methodologies were used to develop communications strategies for the programs. The final chapter of the book summarizes interpretations and implications discussed in the theoretical and case study chapters.

A brief examination of one of the case studies, "Police in America: Catching Bad Guys and Doing Much, Much More," will serve as an example of the authors' treatment of the cases. …