Traditionally, international public relations studies have assumed that a foreign organization, namely a foreign government, is the primary influence on how its home country is portrayed to audiences abroad. This study challenges such assumption of independence by revealing how foreign organizations are connected in ways previous works have not considered. Using Foreign Agents Registration Act data, we reveal the direct and indirect connections that form when foreign organizations hire U.S. agencies to produce their international public relations work. Our network analysis of foreign organizations from Latin American and their U.S. agents documents the network structures that emerge for each country and identifies the types of organizations that are positioned advantageously in the networks. We use these findings to theorize how foreign organizations’ connections and their key positions in networks may influence the production of international public relations efforts for their home country. We at a macro-level, public relations effects depend on the structure of the networks, the overlapping sites where communication content is produced, and who is positioned as key players in the production networks.
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© 2021 Elsevier Inc.
- Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)
- International public relations
- Network analysis
- Network theory
- Networks of production