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What we do > Annual Congress > 2007: Roskilde and Lund
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Euprera Congress 2007: Roskilde/Lund

Overall perspective: Organisation and Society – Legitimacy in a changing world

The theme of the joint EUPRERA/LOKE conference September 2007 was how perceptions of legitimacy and forms of legitimation changes over time, how it differs in various parts of the world; and how these changes and differences challenge the interrelation between organisation and society.

The EUPRERA conference was organized together with the Nordic research network LOKE, and the Nordic perspective clearly influenced the theme of the conference. Historically, we can see essential similarities between the cultures and political systems within the Nordic countries. They are characterised by common democratic traditions, including freedom of expression, independent news media and non-hierarchical forms of coordination. Consequently, the interrelation between society and organisation, and the challenges and changes in society’s processes of legitimisation have high priority on the agendas of Nordic public research and education.

This, however, is a focus which is increasingly attracting interest in the worldwide community of public relations research and education, as the premises of institutions have lost their taken for granted character during the 2nd half of the 20th century. The balances between market mechanisms, civil society and political regulations at national and international levels have undergone important changes in different parts of the world. These balances influence the legitimacy of organisational activities and communication, and we are seeing new forms of international as well as national social mechanisms of legitimisation. Analyses show how the laws of the welfare state are becoming increasingly overburdened and inadequate when it comes to responding flexibly to the complexity of social processes, also where national legislation in the wake of globalization is concerned.

Consequently, to support education and research in public relations to meet these challenges, paper presentation and key notes on the EUPRERA/LOKE conference focussed on the following key issues: How do we conceive and identify these changing balances in society? How do we understand the implications of such changes for organisational responsibility and legitimacy? How do we understand the implications of these changes for organisational communication and public relations? How can we understand the implications of different forms of political regulation, legislation and legitimacy for public relations functions? Can we identify new demands for research and education as the basis for professional organisational communication and public relations?

Furthermore, perspectives embraced macro as well as meso and micro dimensions, in order to improve understanding of the interrelations between the societal, organizational and individual dimensions. The papers represented all relevant academic approaches, from the social sciences as well as from the humanities: sociology, philosophy, politics, business theory, organisational theory, media sciences, linguistics, communication science and interdisciplinary approaches.

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