Abstract: Fear, Risk, and Security: Public Relations as Corporate Governmentality 1900-1934

Cory Wimberly


My primary aim in this presentation is to detail the knowledges constructed about the subject in public relations discourse 1900-1934.  This subject was called, as one might guess from the name of public relations, the public or publics.  These knowledges about the publics had to serve complex and multiple purposes and today I would like to speak about three of them: 1) they had to establish the expert credibility and qualification of P.R. agents to carry out their work through an impressive veneer of professionalizing scientificity; 2) they had to produce knowledges of increased corporate risk that would motivate the purchase of remediating public relations services; and 3) they had serve as part of the propaganda campaigns aimed at the subjectification of the publics.