Playing in the public square: examining the role of a church communications advisor

Rhodes, Jayson (2021) Playing in the public square: examining the role of a church communications advisor. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores a contemporary understanding of the concept of the public square. The genesis of this research is my professional practice as a church communications advisor for the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia. An ongoing tension in my practice was the voice of the church being largely isolated from wider society. I sought a better understanding of ‘the public square’ as part of public theology. The research methodology is qualitative. An ethnographic approach focuses on my experience and that of other academics and practitioners in the public square. There is critical engagement with my practice. The engagement includes data from a research diary, theoretical perspectives on the role of faith-based discourse in society, and interviews with practitioners, including New Zealand broadcaster Janet Wilson, and former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. The thesis presents a progression of arguments for a changing and more complex public square in its organisation and modes of communication to which the Church has been slow to adapt. The public square is reconceptualised as the public square(s) that consist of multiple publics with blurred borders that overlap with each other through the use of negotiation. The concepts of mediatisation and play are used to draw together threads from the findings of the thesis to explore new practices for a communications advisor. The concepts demonstrate renewed thinking by me as a practitioner through the evolution of my practice during the research. Playing in the public square suspends the reality of a focus on borders that can divide. It enables me to negotiate blurred borders in the context of multiple public squares.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: public theology, public square, multiple publics, church communications advisor, mediatisation
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2021 12:32
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2022 15:23
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/707185

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