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Buddhist Public Relations Model for Thai Community Development: Theoretical and Practical Implications
Unformatted Document Text:  Buddhist Public Relations - ICA-15-11634 8 will accentuate power from the “ground up” within and among local actors, communities, neighborhoods, villages, workers’ organizations, and other constituencies (Himmelman, 1996) Seeing Western public relations scholars make their attempts to reestablish public relations as a relationship-building (Broom, Casey, & Ritchey, 1997; Ledingham, & Bruning, 2000) and community-building concept (Kruckeberg & Starck, 1988), I recognize an important role of public relations in the newly developed community-building context in Thai society. After the 1997 economic crisis, a new context of Thai community development began to shift to a humanistic framework of people-centered development in which people across the community live and work through constructive and collaborative relationships to improve their own society. Underlying this people-centered development is the view that “community” is a foundation unity operating in a social system in connection with “environmental constituencies” (Starck & Kruckeberg, 2001). The recent introduction of the buranagarn notion (Wasi, 1998a), a “reconstructive” and “holistic integration” framework based on contemporary Buddhist principles, has great influence on Thai community-building development. The Buddhism-based buranagarn framework originated from grassroots sectors, social thinkers and local theorists who have long been interested in social change and political economic reform (Sriariya, 1999). For these scholars, the new community development context recognizes that “strong community” or “civil society” is a core unit of a healthy society. Despite many sound concepts in the public relations sphere, public relations scholars have not yet contributed much to the community development area in any non-Western setting. The current “community relations” body of knowledge provides a very narrow scope, as it has mainly been done in the United States. The most

Authors: Hanpongpandh, Peeraya.
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Buddhist Public Relations - ICA-15-11634
8
will accentuate power from the “ground up” within and among local actors,
communities, neighborhoods, villages, workers’ organizations, and other
constituencies (Himmelman, 1996)
Seeing Western public relations scholars make their attempts to reestablish
public relations as a relationship-building (Broom, Casey, & Ritchey, 1997;
Ledingham, & Bruning, 2000) and community-building concept (Kruckeberg &
Starck, 1988), I recognize an important role of public relations in the newly developed
community-building context in Thai society. After the 1997 economic crisis, a new
context of Thai community development began to shift to a humanistic framework of
people-centered development in which people across the community live and work
through constructive and collaborative relationships to improve their own society.
Underlying this people-centered development is the view that “community” is
a foundation unity operating in a social system in connection with “environmental
constituencies” (Starck & Kruckeberg, 2001). The recent introduction of the
buranagarn notion (Wasi, 1998a), a “reconstructive” and “holistic integration”
framework based on contemporary Buddhist principles, has great influence on Thai
community-building development. The Buddhism-based buranagarn framework
originated from grassroots sectors, social thinkers and local theorists who have long
been interested in social change and political economic reform (Sriariya, 1999). For
these scholars, the new community development context recognizes that “strong
community” or “civil society” is a core unit of a healthy society.
Despite many sound concepts in the public relations sphere, public relations
scholars have not yet contributed much to the community development area in any
non-Western setting. The current “community relations” body of knowledge provides
a very narrow scope, as it has mainly been done in the United States. The most


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