Relaciones Públicas y asociacionismo académico en España: AIRP, la Asociación de Investigadores en Relaciones Públicas

Translated title of the contribution: Public Relations and academic associationism in Spain: AIRP, the Association of Researchers in Public Relations

Iván Puentes-Rivera, Salvador Hernández-Martínez, Juan Cuenca Fontbona

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review


Associationism, a habitual professional and academic practice in all fields, present in Spain various peculiarities in the case of Public Relations, suffering from a lack of recognition and identification as an independent discipline since its inception. In the professional field, this leads to the appearance of multiple associations that, with different names and many times obviating the words Public Relations, bring together professionals in the sector, but in the field of university research and teaching there is no such associative tradition. In order to fill this gap, AIRP, the Association of Researchers in Public Relations of Spain, was founded in 2004. 16 years after its creation, this article analyzes the meaning and usefulness of said association, both at the beginning and at present, and takes stock of the evolution of Public Relations in Spain throughout this decade and a half, in the professional field and, above all, the academic one. A methodology based on a semi-structured interview with three of the four AIRP founding professors and a content analysis of various documents, such as the census and the entity's web portal, is proposed for this. Among the results obtained, the academic impulse that the networking and associative work of the majority of Spanish researchers in the field has entailed for Public Relations, who before the existence of AIRP worked independently; a boost that translates into greater scientific recognition of the profession and a notable improvement in the indicators of scientific production associated with it, with the consequent greater presence of the discipline in the study plans and the promotion of specialized teachers. Therefore, the importance of associationism is also corroborated in the academic, non-professional sphere, especially in the case of disciplines, such as Public Relations in Spain, which needed an important work of dignity. A process to which the high level of Spanish PR researchers undoubtedly contributes, which has allowed many of them access to full professor and even professorial positions, something unthinkable a few years ago. In relation to the eternal debate on the correct translation into Spanish of the term Public Relations, the researchers are committed to maintaining the name Relaciones Públicas which, although in the professional field is elusive, in the academic field it remains, even in the name of the Degree study. Finally, in relation to the history and evolution of AIRP, the entity has notably increased the number of partners since its foundation, counting on a presence in the majority of universities that offer Advertising and Public Relations studies. This expansion, which will continue to be promoted, must be compatible, however, with its vocation as a specialized entity, absolutely focused on the study of Public Relations. The entity's most immediate challenge is the preparation of the White Paper on the Scope of Public Relations, a guide for the preparation of study plans on the subject.
Translated title of the contributionPublic Relations and academic associationism in Spain: AIRP, the Association of Researchers in Public Relations
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)27-46
Number of pages19
JournalRevista Internacional de Relaciones Públicas
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020


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