Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Communications Honours


Faculty of Communications and Creative Industries

First Supervisor

Mark Balnaves

Second Supervisor

Brian Shoesmith


Many contemporary public relations scholars are attempting to redefine the discipline to incorporate more than the current token gesture of community beneficence into professional practice. Communication activities that perpetuate organizational privilege in Wester style democracies are now considered outdated and unethical. Current theoretical research suggests that public relations suffers an image crisis front its association with liberalist ideology and is considered something of an adversary to the purpose of social movements such as environmentalism. An ever-growing endorsement of communitarian values within society signifies that public relations has the opportunity to enhance greater cohesion between diverse interests by contributing to the development of 'community'. The conceptualising of two-way symmetrical communication models is evidence of this transformation taking place within the discipline. This thesis seeks to explore the implications of communitarianism in a theoretical context for promoting an ethical alternative to current public relations practice. Through an investigation of the Ningaloo controversy it explores how strategies of persuasion arc informed from an ideological perspective.