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The field of public relations is often misunderstood, due to its hybridity, complexity and competing perspectives within the field of scholarship. This essay, which is based on extensive engagement with literature conducted over decades of teaching and researching the subject, outlines the main schools of thought within the field. These are summarised as a) Excellence; b) Advocacy; c) Dialogue; and d) Critical and Cultural approaches. Each perspective reflects variations in understanding of thedoi:10.15581/003.31.4.159-169 doaj:31d34665a127492c82666d147237e893 fatcat:cfpa7rnimjfinbmi3gpi6rlpta