Contributor(s)Cités, Territoires, Environnement et Sociétés (CITERES) ; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) - Université François Rabelais - Tours
médiation, information, communication, art (MICA) ; Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux 3
Centre Interlangues - Texte, Image, Langage (TIL) ; Université de Bourgogne (UB)
[SHS.INFO] Humanities and Social Sciences/Library and information sciences
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This chapter deals with the development of public relations (PR) as a professional field in France, from 1945 to the late 1980s. Not initially considered as a strategic management function, French PR sought to gain legitimacy in its early years, implicitly differentiating itself from the model of North-American PR by which it was inspired, through a focus on the ethical dimension of the profession and its distinction from the related professions of journalism and advertising. Professional associations reflected these concerns and played a key role in helping the profession construct its identity. Social evolutions, especially the civil unrest associated with May 1968, can also be seen to have influenced the development of PR, underlining deeper social trends and the growing need for social dialogue both within organisations and externally. Successive governments and the public sector in general also played an important role in legislating and then legitimising the profession on several occasions. By the late 1980s, the strategic dimension of the PR / communications function had become accepted in many major organisations.