Crisis narrative and the paradox of erasure: Making room for dialectic tension in a cancel culture.

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Date: Sept. 2021
From: Public Relations Review(Vol. 47, Issue 3)
Publisher: Elsevier Advanced Technology Publications
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 298 words

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Abstract :

Keywords Crisis communication; Narrative analysis; Dialectic tensions; Erasure paradox; Race Highlights * Erasure is a useful conceptual frame to analyze and unpack a crisis of dialectical tensions. * Acts of erasure divert attention from broader underlying issues. * Erasure is defined as a typology including erasure by mutilation and repurposing and erasure as reputation management, issues management, activism, empowerment, and reconciliation. * Universities must accept their role in constructing societal change, engage in vigilant anticipation, teach and encourage thoughtful, respectful discourse, and ensure they are not placing the burden of fighting for racial justice on the backs of those facing injustice. Abstract This study analyzed a crisis situation that a university faced when an historical artwork considered to be racially progressive when it was created nearly 70 years ago has been deemed racist in contemporary times. The university attempted to address criticisms by providing context to the artwork, explaining its creation and history as well as by creating companion artwork to lessen its offensiveness, but none of those attempts assuaged critics. We view the case through the lenses of narrative theory, dialectical tensions, and the paradox of erasure while recognizing the challenges organizations face navigating the limited space for competing narratives in a "cancel culture." We add to and codify a typology of erasure in public relations and offer recommendations for universities dealing with crises that have competing interpretations of highly charged, socio-political issues, such as those stemming from racial injustice, at their center. Author Affiliation: (a) College of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States (b) Department of Advertising and Public Relations, The University of Alabama, United States * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 21 November 2020; Revised 2 April 2021; Accepted 3 April 2021 Byline: Shari R. Veil [veil@unl.edu] (a), Damion Waymer [dmwaymer@ua.edu] (b)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A662598808