Crisis Communication in China: A Social Constructionist Approach

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Crisis communication is a field dominated by functionalist and objectivist perspectives even though there are exceptions. With a departure in an alternative epistemology – social construc-tionism – this paper provides a reflective approach to understand crisis communication as a contextual and cultural construction process. Focusing on the social construction of crisis brings a much-needed approach to the field of crisis communication in China. China has en-tered a “risk society” with frequent occurrences of high-profile crises, while the existence of differing and conflicting “public opinion fields” bring consensus and problems of trust in the public sphere. To address these issues, the social constructionist approach focus on the percep-tual aspect of crisis by examining how social reality is produced and reproduced through communication during crisis. Based on a social constructionist epistemology, this paper pro-poses a three-theme analytical framework for future research and practice in crisis communi-cation in China: (1) public perspective, (2) proactive and interactive approach, and (3) com-munity-focused approach.


Conference9th International Forum on Public Relations & Advertising and The 3th Strategic Communication & The 1st Annual Conference of the Public Relations Society of China
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Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Media and Communications
  • Communication Studies


  • Crisis communication
  • Social constructionist approach
  • China
  • context
  • sense-making


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