Clientelism and guanxi: Southern European and Chinese public relations in comparative perspective

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This paper compares and analyzes the practice of public relations between Southern European countries (Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain) and China. The author argues Western countries are not a monolithic entity and there are a number of similarities, mainly focused on the importance of personal relationships, that shape the public relations field in Europe and Asia. A review of the concepts of guanxi and clientelism, both based on the asymmetrical character of relationships based on the abdication by the client of any potential autonomous access to the use of resources and to the setting up of public goods and services, revealed the importance of personal relationships and the emphasis of government relationships at the expense of other publics. Despite the consideration of the Anglo-Saxon symmetrical public relations model as a normative ideal among professionals, persuasive models are prevalent in the public relations practice in these societies.


This article was originally published in Public Relations Review. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Public Relations Review


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