Performance and Persona

Goffman and Jung's approaches to professional identity applied to public relations

Johanna Fawkes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Public relations work involves shaping, reflecting and communicating identity for organisations and individuals, and is in turn shaped by the professional identity both of the field and individual public relations practitioners. This paper explores these issues from the dual perspectives of sociologist Erving Goffman’s (1922–1982) reflections on the performance of work and Carl Jung’s (1875–1961) concept of Persona, the socially acceptable face of the individual or group. The former explores these issues through observation of external behaviours, the latter by engaging with the psyche. Goffman and Jung, despite their conflicting worldviews, offer a complementary understanding of the operation, internal and external, of professional identity.

The paper, which is conceptual and interpretive, with the objective of building theory, summarises contemporary approaches to professional identity in public relations and other fields, before introducing Goffman, who is often mentioned in this context, and Jung, who is not. Together these two scholars offer insights into the interior and exterior aspects of identity, which is here applied to public relations, raising questions both about the production of identity as a commodity for others and the production of self-image of public relations practitioners. The introduction of Jungian thinking brings the inward or experiential dimension of professional identity to this debate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-680
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Relations Review
Volume41
Issue number5
Early online date22 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Public relations
performance
public relations work
psyche
worldview
Professional identity
sociologist
self-image
commodity

Cite this

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Performance and Persona : Goffman and Jung's approaches to professional identity applied to public relations. / Fawkes, Johanna.

In: Public Relations Review, Vol. 41, No. 5, 12.2015, p. 675-680.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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