International Public Relations and the Circuit of Culture: An Analysis of Gawad Kalinga

Zeny Sarabia-Panol, Marianne D. Sison


This paper examines the intersection of meaning construction and culture through a case analysis of a non-profit organisation in the Philippines. By employing the circuit of culture as a framework, the paper illustrates how Gawad Kalinga’s discourse has incorporated a culture - centred approach to communication. While the organisation’s strategic use of the discourse of faith and care resulted in its popularity, it also presented issues of power. Moreover, its highly optimistic and positive claims resulted in gaps between its rhetoric and actual behavior. In acknowledging the importance of integrating cultural values in discourse production, we remind international public relations practitioners that meaningful community development programs require time and contextual sensitivity. This paper contributes to international public relations scholarship from the perspective of a non-profit organisation in a developing country.

A condensed version of this paper was presented at the inaugural research colloquium of the World Public Relations Forum, 18 November 2012, in Melbourne, Australia.


public relations; Gawad Kalinga; circuit of culture

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The University of Newcastle
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