Pulling together and tearing apart: The occupational branding of public relations and the management of tainted work

Grandien C. Pulling together and tearing apart : The occupational branding of public relations and the management of tainted work. Public Relations Inquiry. 2017;6(1):73-98. DOI

This article is a critical exploration of the professionalization of public relations as a struggle or contest over the meaning of work, and it engages with a question about the driving forces behind the long-standing professional project of public relations. The article will use the concepts of ‘dirty work’ and ‘occupational branding’ to address the relation between the role actually performed, normative ideals, and the image of the occupation. The article analyzes op-eds authored by public relations practitioners, scholars, and representatives from professional organizations in newspapers and trade media in order to explore the ways in which the meaning of public relations work is described, contested, and framed, and, consequently, the occupational brand of public relations is formed.