Between Tragedy, Romance, Comedy and Satire: Narratives of Axiological Progress in Public Relations

Peter Winkler, Jannik Kretschmer, Michael Etter

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Purpose – Over recent years, public relations (PR) research has diversified in themes and theories. As a result, PR presents itself today as a multi-paradigmatic discipline with competing ideas of progress that mainly circle
around questions of ontology and epistemology, i.e. around defining appropriate object and knowledge in PR research.
Design/methodology/approach – This conceptual article highlights a third crucial question underlying the debate drawing on a narrative approach: The question of axiology, hence, the normative question how PR
research shall develop to contribute to societal progress.
Findings – The article presents a model, which describes how normative visions of progress in different PR paradigms – functional, co-creational, social-reflective and critical-cultural – manifest in each distinct combinations of four narrative plots – tragedy, romance, comedy and satire.
Originality/value – These findings complement the current debate on disciplinary progress in PR research by fostering reflection and debate on paradigm development and cross-paradigmatic tensions and exchange from an explicit axiological perspective.
TidsskriftJournal of Communication Management
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)353-367
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2021
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • Axiology
  • Narrative approach
  • Disciplinary progress
  • Paradigms
  • Public relations