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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The article examines the phenomenon of public service advertisement from the viewpoint of the theory of social action of T. Parsons, assesses the possibilities of social advertising as an effective method of forming and maintaining loyalties, as well as its potential as a reference model when deciding on the legitimacy of an action – in constitutional, legal and moral sense. The main function of every society is the definition of obligations arising from the aggregate of an individual’s loyalties, as well as an institutional verification of these obligations’ fulfillment. The key question of the study of the theory and practice of public service advertising is the methods of representation of value-conscious systems, effective to such an extent that such representation is able to manage social action to some extent, triggering positive changes in society. The article describes in detail the methodological scheme of research, based on the theory of social action of T. Parsons, which includes the motivational and value orientation of the actor, the cognitive, cathectic and value-conscious methods of its focusing. Social advertising messages are classified according to the relation that takes place between the actor (a target group representative) and the social objects. The goal of public service advertising is to remind or define obligations, as well as to develop a positive attitude towards these obligations; the main focus is to represent the positive affective response of the “other” and to represent the positive affective response of the “ego”. The opposite strategy in creating a public service advertising product may be the representation of the situation to the actor that does not bring him/her satisfaction, which can potentially be actualized if they choose an “incorrect” alternative in the presented context. If the public service advertising campaign is well thought out, it is accompanied by other civil and cultural initiatives (for example, creation and broadcasting of training and scientific and educational films, the associated adjustment of the countries’ legislation, public appearances of authority figures, etc.). As a result, the initiative can become successful and entail positive shifts in the model of social behavior of citizens and groups.
social advertisement, loyalty, T.Parson’s theory of social action
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2. Parsons T. O strukture sotsialʹnogo deystviya [On the structure of social action]. Moscow, Akademicheskiy Proekt, 2000. 880 p. (in Russ.).
3. Hall, S., ed. Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices. London, Sage/Open University, 1997.