Military Recruitment Advertising, Public Relations and Propaganda
My primary research interest is military recruitment advertising, public relations and propaganda. This topic formed the basis of my PhD, which analysed a series of recruitment campaigns organised in Britain and Ireland in the twentieth century, and most of the work I have published since I completed my doctorate, including this edited collection. The main means of attracting men, women and even children to armed forces, recruitment campaigns promote ideals of service that contribute to the militarisation of society and culture. I study them to try to understand how recruiters operate, what strategies they deploy to entice civilians to the military, and whether such strategies are actually effective. I also explore the role of commercial advertising and public relations professionals in recruitment campaigns and the ways in which they effectively commodify military service.
The Origins and Development of Government Communications
I am also interested in government communications more generally and I have explored aspects of this topic in articles in Contemporary British History and Public Relations Review. When did politicians, elected officials and civil servants begin using the media to garner public support? What role did private enterprise, and commercial advertising and public relations agencies in particular, play in such work, and were their attempts to inform, manipulate or coerce the public actually successful? These are some of questions I seek to answer in this particular strand of my research, and I plan to contribute more outputs in this area in the coming years.