Critical perspectives of engagement
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Pieczka, M. (2018) Critical perspectives of engagement. In: Johnston, K. A. & Taylor, M. (eds.) The Handbook of Communication Engagement. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 549-568.
The idea that it is imperative for organizations, be they governments, businesses, scientific or arts institutions, to relate to the world in a new way has gathered momentum since the 1990s. Labeled as participation, involvement, partnership, collaboration, co-production, co-creation, or engagement, it has increasingly been institutionalized across a range of fields. This chapter deals specifically with the discourse of engagement in its three contextually shaped variants of public, employee, and stakeholder engagement as they appear in texts produced by expert practitioners. This discussion takes a critical perspective and investigates engagement by problematizing the phenomenon in a Foucauldian fashion. The chapter aims to show how engagement is constructed in discursive practices shared by engagement experts. It is, therefore, concerned with texts that combine instruction and prescription and thus constitute and regulate engagement. This discussion is developed in three steps, presented in three subsequent chapter sections: Discourse and Critique explains the approach, The Meanings of Engagement presents the analysis of the three discourses, and Problematizing Engagement offers concluding remarks.