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Activist public relations in developing contexts where rules and norms collide: insights from two activist organizations against gender-based violence in Bangladesh

Activist public relations in developing contexts where rules and norms collide: insights from two... This study aims to broaden the understanding of activist public relations in developing contexts. The power of formal laws and policies in developing contexts diminishes by traditional norms and authorities, and therefore, a great deal of activist public relations efforts is devoted to controlling destructive norms and informal authorities. Activist public relations literature often assumes powerful formal institutions that are capable to control behaviors. The authors challenge this assumption by exploring activist public relations against gender-based violence (GV) in Bangladesh.Design/methodology/approachThis study took an interpretative and social constructionist approach to examine public relations practices of two GV activist organizations in Bangladesh. The data were collected through observation, interviews and document analysis of four campaigns. The data were coded in NVivo.FindingsThe data show that the activist organizations used public relations campaigns for informal institutional work. The campaigns included educating various publics and storytelling to build supporting identities, norms and networks to address GV in Bangladesh.Research limitations/implicationsThe study has been limited to advocacy campaign of the non-governmental organizations.Practical implicationsThe knowledge from this study can be applied to the social development sectors where public relations is used to activate activism. In addition, the public relations practitioners and scholars can find how activists public relations is emerging in developing context.Originality/valueThe findings suggest that activist public relations in developing contexts carry out institutional work and create informal institutions to compensate for the formal institutional voids. In addition, this paper highlights the role of public relations in institutional work, to create and maintain contributory institutions or disrupt disturbing institutions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Communication Management Emerald Publishing

Activist public relations in developing contexts where rules and norms collide: insights from two activist organizations against gender-based violence in Bangladesh

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References (53)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1363-254X
DOI
10.1108/jcom-09-2021-0101
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study aims to broaden the understanding of activist public relations in developing contexts. The power of formal laws and policies in developing contexts diminishes by traditional norms and authorities, and therefore, a great deal of activist public relations efforts is devoted to controlling destructive norms and informal authorities. Activist public relations literature often assumes powerful formal institutions that are capable to control behaviors. The authors challenge this assumption by exploring activist public relations against gender-based violence (GV) in Bangladesh.Design/methodology/approachThis study took an interpretative and social constructionist approach to examine public relations practices of two GV activist organizations in Bangladesh. The data were collected through observation, interviews and document analysis of four campaigns. The data were coded in NVivo.FindingsThe data show that the activist organizations used public relations campaigns for informal institutional work. The campaigns included educating various publics and storytelling to build supporting identities, norms and networks to address GV in Bangladesh.Research limitations/implicationsThe study has been limited to advocacy campaign of the non-governmental organizations.Practical implicationsThe knowledge from this study can be applied to the social development sectors where public relations is used to activate activism. In addition, the public relations practitioners and scholars can find how activists public relations is emerging in developing context.Originality/valueThe findings suggest that activist public relations in developing contexts carry out institutional work and create informal institutions to compensate for the formal institutional voids. In addition, this paper highlights the role of public relations in institutional work, to create and maintain contributory institutions or disrupt disturbing institutions.

Journal

Journal of Communication ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: May 2, 2022

Keywords: Institutional voids; Activist organization; Informal institutional work; Gender-based violence; Public relations

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