Trust, Power and Public Relations in Financial Markets is the new book by PERC’s own Clea Bourne (2017: Routledge).

The book is published as a part of Routledge’s New Directions in Public Relations & Communication Research that publishes critical and challenging responses to contemporary PR thinking and practice.

What makes this book unique is that it unpacks the profitable Public Relations (PR) ‘trust restoration industry’ in financial markets, and confronts it with some tough questions. The salience of this topic is obvious a decade after the global financial crisis, as financial markets continue to make the news for all the wrong reasons – debt mountains are higher, more banking frauds have been unearthed, the Libor scandal rumbles on. Meanwhile, insurance and investment firms are cutting costs to the bone, putting ‘robots’ in charge of customer service. If finance is supposed to be the business of trust, it’s difficult to see how the public can put its trust in 21st century finance when the industry favours amnesia over reform. Yet, the PR industry would have us rebuild trust in financial markets in spades. Indeed, public relations experts have positioned themselves as global experts on trust – particularly on how to restore trust after crisis.

Borne’s book is fascinating because of how it  pushes the literature forward by understanding trust as a mechanism of power. Organising trust in finance, she shows, is as much about establishing procedures of transparency as it is about orchestrating silence and invisibility. Drawing on examples from state finance, international lending agencies, trade bodies, financial institutions and consumer groups in mature and emerging financial centres. Clea Bourne’s book is a must read for anyone interested in a critical finance perspective that cuts across the interdisciplinary literatures on PR and marketing, finance, politics, media and sociology.

To hear more from the author herself, listen to this excellent podcast interview with Dave O’Brian