CFP: Special issue of Prism journal on ‘Fandom, Brands and Public Relations’


CFP: Special issue of Prism journal on ‘Fandom, Brands and Public Relations’
Amber Hutchins, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Kennesaw  State University and Natalie T. J. Tindall, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Georgia State University

Traditional public relations methods of communicating with target publics have changed. The idea of engaged publics or audiences has arisen in multiple fields, including audience studies, media studies, sport culture, participatory culture, marketing, cultural studies, and public relations. The conceptions of the public in previous models are no longer valid across all campaigns.

With the advent of social media, content producers and audiences can be one and the same. Fans have more ownership on a global scale, without the limitations of physical proximity, yet our current conceptions of public do not delineate between active and super-active publics, let alone discuss engagement with information beyond processing and seeking it or dealing with publics virtually who are highly motivated to communicate with organizations and brands. Also, in public relations, there is a huge shift to community managers. Yet, there is not a lot of knowledge about the publics who are interacting within the community; this is a place where this special issue can provide significant insight.

Fandom and participatory culture have been identified, discussed, and lamented over in these areas and in various global contexts, and these conversations are synonymous and parallel with the ideas outlined in the segmentation strategies and the robust research on the situational theory of publics.

However, little conversation between those areas has occurred. For example,  online community management of fans and critics is a relatively new method practitioners use to engage stakeholders and public. Although there has been some work on offline community management (or brand communities), primarily in fields outside of public relations, there is not much available for online communities. The work that has been done has been focused on marketing or cultural studies. If you look at our leading public relations and strategic communication journals, research on fans is rare, and the attempt to connect fandom research to segmentation and other public relations theory is nonexistent.

The goal of this project is to bring scholarly attention to the disciplines’ interaction, engagement, and interaction with fans who are publics. The purpose of this special issue is to integrate stakeholder and publics theories with those of participatory cultures and media studies/fan perspectives; to add new, fresh insight into the public relations discipline’s concepts of publics and segmentation; and to apply new research and understandings of publics.

·         Submission deadline: 1st February 2014

·         Anticipated publication date:  During the 2014 calendar year

Submissions for review should be sent to Amber Hutchins and Natalie T.J. Tindall,


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