Public Relations and Religious Diversity: Toward the Common Good

Public Relations and Religious Diversity: Toward the Common Good

Donn James Tilson
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5035-0.ch008
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Modern nation-states have become culturally diverse owing in part to changes in immigration law, globalization, and increased ease of transportation presenting both opportunities and challenges, particularly where religious diversity is concerned. The author proposes a conceptual framework that embraces an interpretation of public relations as a social function (Tilson, 2009a), a covenantal model as a theoretical ground (Koehn, 1994; cited in Baker, 2002), and expanded communicative conceptual parameters that include religion in definitions of diversity. Using telephone and e-mail interviews and textual analysis of media to obtain data on religious diversity and public relations practices in the U.S., a review of initiatives suggests that communicators are fostering tolerance and resolving religious conflict through dialogue in keeping with conceptual models that emphasize the social responsibility of the profession. The study also underscores that socially responsible behavior often has a foundation of faith and that the intersection of faith and institutional practice merits a closer look.
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This study used a combination of qualitative methods to obtain data on religious diversity, place-of-worship activities, and public relations practices. Telephone and e-mail interviews of key figures were conducted to gather data and probe the development of public relations strategies and effects. A textual analysis of institutional media, including electronic material, provided additional information on such aspects. Media coverage and field observations of selected religious sites provided further data.

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