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Synopsis

This groundbreaking study offers new insights into public relations history with a focus on the changing relationship between women and public relations, the institutionalization of public relations education, and the significance of globalization in Australia in the second half of the twentieth century. Drawing on archival and interview research, it reveals how the industry’s professionalization led to the development of an occupational identity along national and gendered lines. It also challenges common misconceptions around the origins of public relations and women’s early contributions and careers. Adopting a critical approach, Professionalizing public relations avoids corporatist perspectives on the historical development of public relations by focusing on the processes of professionalization and their significance for gender and education, and by situating this study in a broader global context. The findings reveal dynamic and contested conceptualizations of public relations knowledge and expertise, and the significance of historical processes for contemporary understandings of the industry. 

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