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Volume 14 (2019)

Issue 1-2: Debating Public Diplomacy: Now and Next

Special issue edited by Jian Wang and Jan Melissen

Issue 1-2 at Brill.com

Contents

Jan Melissen and Jian Wang

Article available at Brill.com

Joseph S. Nye Jr
Abstract

Soft power is the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction and persuasion rather than coercion or payment. A country’s soft power rests on its resources of culture, values and policies. A smart-power strategy combines hard- and soft-power resources. Public diplomacy has a long history as a means of promoting a country’s soft power, and soft power was essential in winning the Cold War. Smart public diplomacy requires an understanding of the roles of credibility, self-criticism and civil society in generating soft power. As authoritarian states today use new cyber technologies and other means to disrupt political processes in democracies, questions arise about the boundaries of soft power and the appropriate policies for public diplomacy.

Article available at Brill.com

Nicholas J. Cull
Abstract

A global crisis exists today, driven by a toxic mix of populist politics and disruptive social media. For public diplomacy to respond, it must remain true to its core principles: 1) begin by listening; 2) connect to policy; 3) do not perform for domestic consumption; 4) look for credibility and partnership; as 5) the most credible voice is not your own. 6) Public diplomacy is not always ‘about you’; but 7) is everyone’s business. These core principles must now be supplemented by the following future needs: 1) reframing soft power as a new category of reputational security, relevant to the survival of vulnerable states; 2) contest disinformation and engage in information disarmament; 3) counter victim narratives; and 4) articulate a compelling vision of the future. This article refuses to abandon an element of optimism and continues to see hope in the ability of humans to connect effectively with one another.

Article available at Brill.com

Andrew F. Cooper
Abstract

Public diplomacy has been externally directed via a strategy of assertive reputation-building. In an era of insurgent populism, this model faces strong backlash, driven by the image of public diplomacy being disconnected from domestic publics. Under these conditions, an opportunistic set of ascendant political leaders — even those located at the international system’s core — have considerable incentive to diminish ‘their’ own diplomats as part of a wider campaign to stigmatize the traditional establishment. While more attention needs to be directed to the causes of this disconnection between diplomats and public, this article highlights a number of key ingredients in a menu of adaptation to the populist challenge. Above all, the focus of engagement in public diplomacy should be broadened to include domestic as well as foreign audiences. Disruption, it must be emphasized, does not mean the end of public diplomacy. Rather, public diplomacy must take a domestic turn.

Article available at Brill.com

Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff
Abstract

Diaspora diplomacy encompasses diasporas as: agents in their own right; instruments of other’s diplomatic agendas; and/or intentional or accidental partners with other actors pursuing shared interests. Diaspora diplomacy is not territorially bound, and agendas are fluid. Three important features of diaspora diplomacy distinguish it from public diplomacy more generally. First, the diaspora identity results in specific applications of diplomacy for which diasporans may play a unique role. Second, diasporans’ responses to global crises of identity and inequity yield particular motivations and targets of engagement. Third, diasporans may have an in-between advantage for public diplomacy. The complexity of diaspora diplomacy is likely to increase because of circular migration, layered identities, and continued improvements and access to telecommunications. Researchers and policy-makers should focus attention on how to integrate diasporas into existing efforts to account for the complexity of transnational relations.

Article available at Brill.com

Erik C. Nisbet and Olga Kamenchuk
Abstract

Policy discourse about disinformation focuses heavily on the technological dimensions of state-sponsored disinformation campaigns. Unfortunately, this myopic focus on technology has led to insufficient attention being paid to the underlying human factors driving the success of state-sponsored disinformation campaigns. Academic research on disinformation strongly suggests that belief in false or misleading information is driven more by individual emotional and cognitive responses — amplified by macro social, political and cultural trends — than specific information technologies. Thus, attention given to countering the distribution and promulgation of disinformation through specific technological platforms, at the expense of understanding the human factors at play, hampers the ability of public diplomacy efforts countering it. This article addresses this lacuna by reviewing the underlying psychology of three common types of state-sponsored disinformation campaigns and identifying lessons for designing effective public diplomacy counter-strategies in the future.

Article available at Brill.com

Corneliu Bjola, Jennifer Cassidy and Ilan Manor
Abstract

As data fast become the ‘new oil’, the opportunities for public diplomacy to grow as a field of practice are real and game-changing. Drawing on social informatics research, this article seeks to advance our understanding of how digital technologies shape the context in which public diplomacy operates by reshaping the medium of public communication, blurring the boundary between foreign and domestic affairs and empowering new actors. Despite inevitable challenges, the future of public diplomacy in the digital age remains bright, as digital technologies create tremendous opportunities for public diplomacy to build stronger, more diverse and more enduring bridges between offline and online communities.

Article available at Brill.com

Constance Duncombe
Abstract

Public diplomacy is increasingly facilitated through social media. Government leaders and diplomats are using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to communicate with foreign publics, changing the dynamics of interaction between broadcaster and audience. The key to understanding the power of social media in public diplomacy is the role of emotion in digital diplomacy strategies: social media statements relating to state identity can incite strong emotions that have the potential to undermine heretofore positive diplomatic relations, or provide communicative openings that move towards ameliorating crises. Examining the interaction of social media, emotion and identity provides insight into the increasing importance of digital diplomacy and the future challenges relating to digital disinformation that lie ahead.

Article available at Brill.com

R.S. Zaharna
Abstract

In contemporary public diplomacy, the idea of culture and nation-state are so intertwined that notions such as ‘national culture’ that fuel populism or culture as a soft-power resource often go unquestioned. This article critically revisits assumptions of state-centric diplomacy that tie culture to the state. Culture as a domain of the state, which helped carve up the world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, has become limiting in a twenty-first-century milieu that is both culturally diverse and interconnected. The article probes the communication dynamics that are untethering culture from the state and giving prominence to forces of increased separation as well as global collaboration, including the phenomenon of humanity-centred diplomacies. Humanity-centred diplomacies’ distinguishing features — global consciousness, holistic perspective, cultural diversity and process-orientation — suggest advantages over state-centric diplomacy for leveraging cultural diversity and tackling complex global problems.

Article available at Brill.com

Geoffrey Wiseman
Abstract

This article considers public diplomacy’s future through the prism of public diplomacy between hostile nations. It first sketches democracies’ past and present use of public diplomacy in hostile relations with non-democracies. It then discusses five particular challenges for democracies in their future thinking about the public diplomacy–hostile nations’ nexus. These challenges are: accounting for public diplomacy’s theoretical significance in hostile relations; deciding between isolating or engaging adversaries; avoiding the stigma of propaganda; managing democratic expectations; and settling on an appropriate role for governments. Democratic countries’ responses to these challenges will impact public diplomacy’s future, notably regarding its effectiveness in relation to hostile nations. The article concludes that public diplomacy is not a panacea for easing hostile bilateral relations. However, it is one of many elements that a judicious government can use — drawing on four ideal-type variants of public diplomacy — in order to improve relations with an adversarial state.

Article available at Brill.com

Philip Seib
Abstract

Public diplomacy can be one element of multifaceted counter-terrorism strategy, but to be successful it must be used in timely fashion as a preventive tool. One key to reducing the threat posed by terrorism is to turn off terror groups’ recruiting faucets, and public diplomacy can play an important role in doing this. This article explores the vulnerability of certain populations and how they might be reached and strengthened in ways that undercut terrorist recruitment. This includes recognizing the importance of religion in terrorist recruiting and how it may be addressed constructively. Further, traditional pubic diplomacy programmes such as educational and cultural exchanges have been underestimated as a mean of counteracting the ‘othering’ that increases vulnerable populations’ susceptibility to terrorist recruitment.

Article available at Brill.com

Kejin Zhao
Abstract

Since 2012, China’s top leadership has argued that China’s public diplomacy should integrate with the ‘New Model of Major-Country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics’. Among this series of initiatives, China formulates a public diplomacy model that is different from those of other countries. China’s model of public diplomacy falls under the unified leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), but coordinates various public diplomacy players culturally rather than institutionally. The current trends of China’s public diplomacy include to evolve from listening to telling, and to be more confident, positive and active. Based on empirical studies, this article concludes that China’s public diplomacy since 2012 has created a unique model that emphasises cultural and other informal norms under the CPC’s leadership. Moreover, public diplomacy will be regarded as a necessary wisdom to understand how China has integrated with the world harmoniously.

Article available at Brill.com

Caitlin Byrne
Abstract

Public diplomacy practice is intensifying across the Indo-Pacific as global actors compete to keep pace with the emerging geopolitical realities of a contested world order. China’s rise is the dominant feature. It comes as the United States retreats from global leadership, further heightening the sense of uncertainty in the region. Amid this strategic re-ordering, competition to influence narratives, set political agendas and frame the rules of a changing order is intense. The stakes for public diplomacy could not be higher and the implications for political leaders are significant. This article examines the role of Indo-Pacific political leaders through the lens of public diplomacy. While there are significant differences in approach, findings suggest that the imperative for political leaders to inform, engage and influence public audiences increasingly lies in the desire to shape the narrative and thus the nature of a regional order that will be favourable for their national interests.

Article available at Brill.com

Publication date: 22 April 2019

 

Issue 3: Non-Western Non-state Diplomacy

Special issue edited by Natalia Grincheva and Robert Kelley

Issue 3 at Brill.com

Contents

Natalia Grincheva and Robert Kelley

Article available at Brill.com

Iver B. Neumann
Abstract

In a rapidly globalising world, Euro-centrism — namely, the notion that the West deserves to occupy the centre stage of past and present world history — is unwarranted. It is both politically unjust and scientifically unsatisfactory, since it means that knowledge production proceeds according to habit rather than to need. The problem is not first and foremost an individual predicament. Most scholars of diplomacy study the state of which they are a national. This may be an inevitable division of labour. While individual scholars have an obligation to think about how different languages, different categorisation systems and different problems mean that a Euro-centric approach will only take us so far in understanding diplomacy as a global social form, this epistemological problem is located primarily on the level of diplomatic studies as such. The other contributors to this special issue propel our sub-field to a more multi-centric and scientifically higher level.

Article available at Brill.com

R.S. Zaharna
Abstract

Recently, there has been a drive to rebalance public diplomacy scholarship from its predominantly Western origins. However, even as we diversify to non-Western studies, buried assumptions laid in public diplomacy’s foundation may still continue to restrict our view of public diplomacy as a global practice. This Forum essay critically examines two of those assumptions. First, ‘individualism’ — as an ideal of separate, bounded entities — fosters a tight focus on individual actors and action, while often overlooking relational and contextual dynamics. Second, ‘estrangement’ normalises the idea of separation and alienation, a proposition not shared by other traditions that recognise diversity but presupposes inter-connectedness and commonality. From relational and holistic perspectives, mediating diversity is not the same as ‘mediating estrangement’. The goal of exposing assumptions is to recognise their limitations and create space for more relational and holistic perspectives to expand our vision from West/non-West to a range of global public diplomacies.

Article available at Brill.com

Natalia Grincheva
Abstract

This article explores the overlooked role of museums in the international arena as playing a dual role in cultural diplomacy. It explores the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to illustrate an emerging ‘hybrid’ form of diplomacy that cannot be strictly defined as ‘state’ or ‘non-state’. Although the article documents strong ties between the Hermitage Museum and the Russian government, it also reveals the Hermitage’s growing capacity to build productive bilateral cultural relationships with foreign partners, bypassing governmental control. Specifically, the article looks at the international network of Hermitage Foundations as a successful museum international outreach and fundraising campaign that significantly contributes to the Russian government’s efforts in cultural diplomacy. This case offers new empirical findings from the non-Western context, exposing the growing role of museums in contemporary diplomacy.

Article available at Brill.com

Anna Popkova
Abstract

While some scholars assert that non-state actors (NSAs) can be considered as public diplomacy agents in their own right, others argue that NSAs’ work only supplements a state’s public diplomacy efforts. Both groups of scholars, however, focus on collaboration between states and NSAs. This article draws attention to the situations in which transnational NSAs challenge their respective states. Using the transnational movement Open Russia as a case study and drawing on Robert Kelley’s conceptualization of the diplomatic capabilities of NSAs as manifesting themselves in such actions as disruption, agenda-setting, mobilizing and gatekeeping, this article explores the power interplay between Open Russia and its domestic and foreign constituencies. By analysing the potential and the limits of Open Russia’s diplomatic capabilities, the article expands the discussion about NSAs’ role in public diplomacy.

Article available at Brill.com

Nur Uysal
Abstract

The profound changes in communication technology and dramatic increase in global migration have challenged the conventional dyadic conceptualization of ‘domestic’ and ‘foreign’ publics and increased the importance of diaspora publics. Using the four-quadrant model of public diplomacy and cascading activation model of framing, this article analyses the complex role of diasporas in the public diplomacy equation. To illustrate a public-centred and public-based public diplomacy initiative from a non-Western perspective, the article focuses on a Turkish diaspora organization’s attempts to control communication in the aftermath of the 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey. The analysis reveals how partner publics became adversarial diaspora and transformed into a non-state actor challenging the Turkish state’s legitimacy in the international arena. This case study sheds light on the dynamic transformations of non-Western publics from domestic partners into adversarial diasporas and it questions the dominant Western conceptions of static state-centred, state-initiated public diplomacy.

Abstract available at Brill.com

Li Li, Xuefei Chen and Elizabeth C. Hanson
Abstract

This article examines private think tanks as instruments of public diplomacy in China. It analyses relationship-building in three cases of a hybrid form of public diplomacy that combines government agencies and non-state actors and involves multiple stakeholders, both domestic and transnational. Emphasis is upon the actors in China that initiated the projects and developed the networks for each initiative, but the building of the projects’ transnational relationships is also considered. The cases involve three top-ranking Chinese private think tanks: the Charhar Institute’s City Diplomacy projects; the Center for China and Globalization’s Green Card initiative; and the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies’ Think 20 Transnational Network. The analysis demonstrates how and why the public-private partnerships in each case produced shared positive outcomes with synergistic results and advanced China’s public diplomacy objectives. The cases illustrate the advantages of a hybrid form of non-state public diplomacy that combines state and non-state actors.

Article available at Brill.com

Sabrina Hsu

Article available at Brill.com

Ari Jerrems

Article available at Brill.com

Publication date: 20 June 2019

 

Contents

Paul Sharp, Jan Melissen, Constance Duncombe and Marcus Holmes

Article available at Brill.com

Judit Kuschnitzki
Abstract

In the wake of the 2011 uprisings, Tunisian, Egyptian and Yemeni diplomats faced unprecedented questions regarding their professional conduct. The foreign policy institutions of all three countries witnessed new forms of political agency, with diplomats beginning to question, debate and (re)define routine practices and norms. Combining diplomatic theory with the multidisciplinary literature on state bureaucracies, this article analyses the various strategies that diplomats developed during a time marked by radical politicisation, strong emotion and new opportunities. On a conceptual level, it emphasises the concept of ‘diplomatic discretion’, which remains under-theorised in diplomacy research today, but is crucial to the study of diplomatic practice. Empirically, this article draws on ethnographic data regarding diplomats’ lived experiences, treating their narratives surrounding the 2011 events as a starting point of analysis.

Article available at Brill.com

Jiun Bang
Abstract

As a ‘banal’ everyday practice of state conduct, diplomatic summonses — colloquially known as a ‘dressing down’ — are a rich yet untapped source for research. To that end, this article’s objectives are to: 1) introduce this practice of reprimand between states, along with a sample dataset of summonses in North-East Asia from 2000 to 2016; and 2) then extract valuable contributions that summonses could make to a variety of ongoing discourses. Specifically, the article highlights a summons’ ability to reveal the foreign policy priorities of a state, as well as emphasise the need to think about dyadic relations as a set of two separate relations that might not exhibit the kind of reciprocity or symmetry that scholars have come to associate with inter-state relations. Along the way, the article also suggests ramifications for the ongoing literature on ‘emotions’, given the nature of summonses and its aspect of ‘insult’ or ‘shaming’.

Article available at Brill.com

Renée Fry-McKibbin and Than Thuong Nguyen
Abstract

This article empirically examines the effectiveness of commercial diplomacy in contributing to Australia’s merchandise exports and inbound foreign investment with 181 countries over the period 2010-2015. The combined effect of diplomatic entities increases Australian exports by 12.9 per cent and increases inbound foreign investment by 16.1 per cent compared to countries without representation. Commercial diplomacy is effective when there are impediments to exporting, such as markets being outside the region and having low economic freedom. Commercial diplomacy substantially boosts inbound investment from countries outside and within the region, from emerging and developed markets, and from countries with high levels of economic freedom.

Article available at Brill.com

Evan H. Potter
Abstract

This article argues that official Russian global media platforms such as Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik News, as well as Kremlin-friendly news outlets, represent the overt face of Russia’s global information ecology. The article discusses how such platforms fit into a framework for public diplomacy that has less-restrictive conceptual boundaries, and examines the intersection of public diplomacy with other dimensions of a nation-state’s operations for international influence. The article avers that a broader understanding of Russia’s international communication practices permits the inclusion of so-called ‘sharp’ practices as part of the strategic communications component of public diplomacy. It examines the case study of a Canadian foreign minister’s family history, illustrating Russia’s approach to international perception management through public diplomacy.

Article available at Brill.com

Yanling Yang
Abstract

This article explores the role of non-state actors from the film industry in promoting China’s soft power. Much research on non-state actors has emphasised the Anglophone world, while little research has been undertaken in the context of non-democratic regimes such as China. Therefore, following scholarly reviews on soft power and the role of its key actors, this article analyses China’s approach to soft power, based on semi-structured interviews conducted with film experts to explore the role of non-state actors in generating soft power. The study reveals that although China has consistently privileged state-owned actors over non-state actors, non-state actors have actually played an increasingly important role in disseminating soft power. The article argues that the more powerfully the Chinese authorities emphasise China’s state actors, the less likely it is that China will win hearts and minds — because of China’s domestic political ideology and censorship mechanism in the field.

Article available at Brill.com

Iver B. Neumann
Abstract

Part of diplomatic work is public, so a diplomat must be presentable — that is, clean, smart or decent enough to be seen in public. This article starts by recognising the recent spate of work on aesthetics and representation in social sciences and diplomacy studies, and questions why it occurred so late when representation has always been constitutive of diplomacy, perhaps because of Enlightenment distrust of visuals and reaction against Nazi aestheticising of politics. Part two sets out what it takes to stage a successful visual performance and points to three factors: the agent’s own preparations; audience assessment; and mediatisation to a broader public. Part three analyses two successful performances of accreditation, highlighting how they succeeded because they were deemed particularly presentable by being remarkably smart and decent, respectively. In conclusion, I argue that smartness trumps decency. This offers female diplomats more options than males, but also incurs greater risks.

Article available at Brill.com

Bahia Tahzib-Lie and Jan Reinder Rosing
Abstract

On 31 December 2018, the Kingdom of the Netherlands — the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten — concluded its one-year membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), prompting many to reflect on its meaningful contribution to international peace and security during this time. The UNSC has exclusive and far-reaching powers with regard to maintaining international peace and security. For this reason, non-permanent seats on the UNSC are highly coveted. They confer prestige, influence and respectability on the seat-holders. Given the popularity of these seats, the Kingdom’s ability to influence decision-making within the UNSC became possible only after an intensive election campaign. In this practitioners’ perspective, we provide our insights and observations on the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ campaign strategy for the UNSC elections in 2016.

Article available at Brill.com

Damien Arnaud
Abstract

The post-truth phenomenon harms political dialogue between nations. Our collective approach to news and to ‘truth in the news’ has been blown off course by a combination of factors, described by twelve statesmen and diplomats in interviews, which this practitioner attempts to explain here by drawing on his perspective as a communicator at NATO. Post-truth has made political dialogue unattractive and unpleasant for many leaders. It has given wider credence to the notion that the truth is unimportant and that the search for truth is unnecessary and pretentious. This has proven costly to stable international relations, because truth speaks of what is just, accepted and therefore stable. Dialogue is devalued today on account of its association with the search for truth. To have any chance of restoring a functioning European security system, dialogue must be restored. This can be achieved by considering anew George Orwell’s famed concept of ‘common decency’.

Article available at Brill.com

Robert Kissack

Article available at Brill.com

Luca Paladini

Article available at Brill.com

Olga Krasnyak

Article available at Brill.com

Publication date: 15 November 2019


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