Public interest communication: A framework for systemic inquiry
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Johnston, J. & Pieczka, M. (2018) Public interest communication: A framework for systemic inquiry. In: Johnston, J. & Pieczka, M. (eds.) Public Interest Communication: Critical Debates and Global Contexts. London: Routledge, pp. 9-31.
This chapter confronts the public interest showing it to be challenging both conceptually and practically. It discusses an overview of political theories of public interest and approaches which have emerged since the 1920s, bringing the public interest literature into dialogue with research in communication and public relations (PR). The chapter pursues the idea of the public interest by discussing the key themes and arguments in the debate between Walter Lippmann and John Dewey, described as 'a staple of American political thought' and, given its specific historical and political place, also a staple of modern democratic thought. It turns to communication theory, drawing on the work of Habermas, on some of the critiques of the public sphere, on the deliberative democracy literature, and on the work of Castells, thus placing the public interest in the context of communication networks and the network society.