24th International Public Relations Research Symposium
BLEDCOM 2017 - June 30 - July 1, 2017

BledCom symposium is an annual gathering of scholars and practitioners in public relations and related disciplines to discuss contemporary communication and management problems. Each year the traditional international symposium BledCom attracts the world’s elite of academics and practitioners. The conference is organized by the Centre for Marketing and Public Relations at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences.

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Call for Papers for BledCom 2018: A World in Crisis: The Role of Public Relations

4. 7. 2017

BledCom is 25! What began as an annual gathering of scholars and practitioners in public relations and related disciplines to discuss contemporary communication and management problems has blossomed into what it is today. As the oldest conference in our field that is not affiliated with a professional or academic association, we have come much farther than we had expected in 1992!

So far, eight books and nine special issues or sections of peer-reviewed journals have been published based on previous symposia (www.bledcom.com.).  We attribute this success to the hundreds of colleagues who have participated over these years and of course our sponsors.  We thank you all for sustaining this boutique conference for a quarter of a century.


Picturesque Alpine Lake Bled in Slovenia

Theme: A world in Crisis: The Role of Public Relations

In his 1992 book, American political scientist Francis Fukuyama confidently declared that the fall of the Berlin Wall had signaled “the end of history” as Western values of liberal democracy, free markets, and open society had triumphed and therefore would henceforth be adopted by the rest of the world.  What an illusion! Less than twenty years into the 21st century, the list of countries one does not associate with a liberal democratic system (China, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Turkey, the Philippines…) has been growing as does their apparent influence over global affairs.  Even the USA, considered the leader of globalism in the 20th century, appears to have embraced protectionism and economic nationalism typified by the slogan “America first!”  A combination of political and technological creative destruction appears to be making societies progressively less open where individuals are voluntarily ceding control over their privacy to government and corporations (such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google) to the levels that George Orwell, the author of dystopian novel 1984, couldn’t even imagine).

The world appears to be in a permanent crisis. Trust in authorities and institutions is falling while at the same time organizational appear to be making optimistic promises of their commitment, engagement, and even enthusiasm. What is going on?

Public relations has always been involved in sense-making and reflection, relationship management and storytelling. How much has it contributed to the present VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) state of affairs and what is its role in the near future? These are questions we think we need to discuss during the 25th anniversary of the International Public Relations Research Symposium – BledCom 2018.

The following are a few of the many  topics subsumed in this theme:

  • a world in turmoil and the role of public relations;
  • crisis management;
  • crisis communication;
  • corporate crisis communication;
  • government and public crisis communication;
  • non-profits – their role in today’s world;
  • communication and the erosion of trust in (public) authorities;
  • agnotology, fake-news, post-truth and post-democracy;
  • communication and (corporate, political, social) sense-making;
  • journalism and media in crisis?;
  • social media and their role in creating the present state of affairs;
  • strategic communication in a VUCA world.

Call for Abstracts and Panels:

We invite abstracts that are between 500 and 800 words (including title and keywords) with up to 5 references. Please use the following guidelines to present your abstract and kindly supply the word count at the end of the submission.

Please note that as has been the norm in the past, BledCom welcomes ALL papers that are relevant to public relations and communication management beyond papers that discuss the conference theme.

Format for the Abstract:

Introduction and purpose of the study (and research question if there is one) – helps summarize the purpose and rationale of your study. Literature review – Helps place your work in context with the existing body of knowledge. Methodology – Define the main method used for gathering data including sample size, and state the rationale for using this method. Results and conclusions – Helps summarize the answers to the research questions while also outlining the implications of the results.  Also summarize the limitations of the study and offer suggestions for future research. Practical and social implications – Offer the potential implications both for practice and society. Also provide us with 3 to 5 keywords that highlight your study. Abstracts should come as blind copies without author names and affiliations, who are to be identified on on a separate cover page. Please use the suggested headings to structure the abstract. A list of literature is not necessary, but if it is provided it is included into the word count.

Panel proposal are also welcome. The proposal should describe the title and focus of the panel, name of the chair of the panel, and names of every member of the panel and title or focus of each presentation.


Both paper abstracts and panel proposals should be submitted via email to bledcom@fdv.uni-lj.si no later than 1 February 2018. Decisions will be made by 1 March 2018. Full papers of no more than 6.000 words will be due by 1 September 2018.

Program Committee:

  • Dejan Verčič, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Ana Tkalac Verčič, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Krishnamurthy Sriramesh, Purdue University, USA

The Program Committee will be guest editing a special issue of Public Relations Review. Papers presented at BledCom 2018 will be considered for publications in the special issue.

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