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Title: The social construction of public relations labour
Author: Elmer, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2727 2962
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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This study develops a sociological understanding of public relations work and workers. Its original contribution to knowledge is an account that conjoins personal dispositions and occupations; the person we become, and the work we do. Set in the UK, the analysis re-examines the complexity of practices, relationships and repertoires of behaviour that emerge from this contemporary form of service labour, and the economic and cultural logics that accompany them in a market for skills and persons. The study develops detailed information at the level of the working life in order to explore the subjective dispositions that subjects engage as they work. This emphasises the importance of habituated, embodied and emotional routines in performances of the occupational self, evaluated in part through an auto- ethnographic engagement. These practices take place under a labour market within which occupational performances accrue both symbolic and economic values. Public relations emerges as a limited extemporisation, a dynamic and relational social performance that both enacts and reproduces cultural and economic forms; a style of person doing a style of work. Within a study that is pluralised with regard to analysis and exploratory with regard to method, Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, field and capitals are adopted as an explanatory framework in order to provide 'accounts of the ways that practitioners . , embody their labour, experience it as a competed act, and exchange cultural values for economic ones. The study engages reflexively with the object of study, offering to account for practices and develop experiential and observational knowledge. The conceptual model that emerges is integrative; it offers a relational and dynamic view of the occupation, provides direction for future study, and re-interprets practices in ways in ways that illuminate the long standing question of conduct, in this form of cultural labour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available