The practice of Political Public Relations in Catalonia and Scotland
Tarrega, M. (2017) The practice of Political Public Relations in Catalonia and Scotland, no. 246.
This thesis is about the practitioners of political public relations in Scotland and Catalonia. The study is focused on investigating the constitutive elements of political PR practitioners as a professional group and as a practice, and the influence that different media systems have on the practice of political PR. This is a comparative study that combines micro and macro-level analysis. The thesis is one of the first studies to approach political PR as a profession and to compare sub-state nations to explore communication practices in the political sphere. The theoretical framework for this thesis combines a neo-institutional approach to professions, and the theory of media systems models to explore and compare the context where political PR practitioners work. The empirical data of this thesis derives from in-depth interviews to Heads of Communication in parties and governments in Scotland and Catalonia. The analysis of the empirical data is based on thematic coding. The central argument of this thesis is that the practice of political PR and its practitioners occupy a professional role in the division of labour in the political sphere of Scotland and Catalonia. The professional role of political PR practitioners is that of a hybrid model that combines classic traits of professions with informal structures and shared professional identities resulting from the constant influence of the political and the media sphere. As a practice political PR is about relationship management and networking with the core actors and channels of the media sphere. Media systems provide the profession with different tools of influence over the media sphere influencing levels of professional power and professional performance. Catalan practitioners have a wider range of institutional tools because of the strongly interdependent relationship between the media and political spheres. Whereas Scottish practitioners use their professional power and performance to overcome the limitations to political influence in their media system.