Images of Nations and International Public Relations

Images of Nations and International Public Relations

Images of Nations and International Public Relations

Images of Nations and International Public Relations

Synopsis

This volume addresses the importance of images of nations in international relations. One fundamental assumption is that the behavior of states is not the same as that of individuals. States are social systems whose behavior as a rule directly corresponds neither to the motives of their respective leaders nor to those of their populations. However, it is also self-evident that international activities always depend on personal relationships. The studies presented relate to more or less deliberate attempts to induce change in images. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the subject matter, findings made in public relations, advertising research, prejudice research and other fields are also taken into account. Very often it is impossible to distinguish between the image of the nation-state and the images of big enterprises such as Krupp, Ford, or Coca Cola. For this reason, the country of origin effect is also discussed.

Excerpt

This book addresses the importance of images of nations in international relations. One fundamental assumption is that the behavior of states is not the same as that of individuals. States are social systems whose behavior as a rule directly corresponds neither to the motives of their respective leaders nor to those of their populations. Self-evidently, however, international activities always depend, too, on personal relationships; for example it is indubitably important whether the U.S. president and the leader of Russia get on well with each other at a personal level.

The book also presents studies which relate to more or less deliberate attempts to induce change in images. There is no need to fear that this is a kind of Machiavellian manipulation manual to enable dictatorships trampling on human rights suddenly to appear in the purest shining light of innocence. Fears of the alleged omnipotence of the image producers, which are still widely spread in public, are also to be countered, which is not to be equated, however, with making the might of the "captains of consciousness" appear harmless. Obviously, one of the main objectives of advertising and public relations agencies must be to convince clients and prospective clients of the effectiveness of their work. And it must already be said here that active and planned inducement of image change is a long and demanding process. A positive image cannot be forced nor bought, and once it has been built it needs continuous cultivation. Image building can go on at many levels, starting with sport. Artists and scientists may travel abroad or the mass media might be used. Such activities will be briefly touched on here, too, but because of the breadth of the theme the emphasis will be clearly on image building or influencing by the mass media. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the subject matter, findings made in the public relations, advertising research, prejudice research and other fields will also be taken into account. One difficulty is the . . .

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