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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquium Archive

Blake Scott

Name: Blake Scott, University of Central Florida

Presentation Title: "Civic Engagement as Risk Management and Public Relations: What the Pharmaceutical Industry Can Teach Us About Service-Learning"

Date: September 21, 2006

Abstract

In response to public image, regulatory, and other global risks, the pharmaceutical industry has increasingly engaged in a range of well publicized but, in many ways, limited "corporate citizenship" efforts. Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies have framed their promotion of these efforts with the topoi of stakeholder dialogue, local public-private partnerships, and sustainable development, all topoi also used in the scholarship of service-learning. This talk will analyze these topoi across both sets of discourses tracking how they are commonly enacted and to what effects. The purpose is to show how our service-learning practices risk being co-opted by shallow corporate models of civic engagement. The talk will end by posing ways we can resist such cooption throughout teaching of stakeholder engagement and civic responsibility (especially in writing courses), formation of broader institutional service-learning iniatives and structures, and promotion of service learning to wider publics.