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Editor's Notes

Alissa Sommerfeldt is a senior Public Relations major at Murray State. This is her Honors thesis, which was completed in partial fulfillment of the Honors diploma. Her mentor was Dr. Marcie Hinton.

Abstract

Within the field of public relations, professionals utilize case study methodology to research efficient public relations tactics and strategies. Specifically, a public relations case study is an-depth qualitative analysis of a particular public relations campaign performed by an organization, providing a vital tool for public relations scholars to study complex phenomena within their contexts (Baxter, 2008, p. 2).

This particular case study will be examining public relations in a deeper sense than the traditional view of public relations merely serving as a relationship management role within an organization. Instead, public relations activism as a demonstration of the postmodernist worldview will be explored through descriptive case methodology. Public relations in the activist function can support the oppressed against the dominant coalition (Benecke and Oksiutycz, 2006, p. 817).

Perhaps one of the most successful examples of PR activism in recent history began on April 30, 2015 on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, when a 74-year-old Independent Vermont senator announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States of America. What began as a dark horse campaign with little support morphed into the epitome of postmodern public relations – fundamental change and addressing societal problems became the heart of the Sanders’ movement (Holtzhausen, 2000, p. 99). Many of the millennial generation, including first time voters in particular, gravitated toward such a mindset, sparking the beginning of what has been called a political revolution within America.

By researching the public relations tactics and techniques utilized by the volunteers in favor of Senator Sanders, the researcher explores how community dialogue through the mobile movement is tied to societal and cultural changes. Using the postmodern public relations perspective, viral communication can be used more effectively and perhaps used to inspire an entire generation.

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