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Books for Review

The Hague Journal of Diplomacy regularly publishes book reviews of approx. 800-1000 words. We are accepting reviews of the selected books below, as well as any other contribution within the field of diplomacy and global affairs.

If you are interested in writing a book review, please contact our editor Sophie Vériter to obtain a copy and for further information.

To read our published book reviews, click here.


Diplomacy, Organisations and Citizens: A European Communication Perspective
Diplomacy, Organisations and Citizens: A European Communication Perspective
Sónia Pedro Sebastião and Susana de Carvalho Spínola (eds.)

This book uses an innovative interdisciplinary approach to explain how communication is a necessary condition for diplomacy in a digital and relationship-driven world. Divided into three parts, it highlights the importance of communication strategies and processes in contemporary society and in current global socio-political events in general, particularly within the field of diplomacy. The first part discusses the main theoretical debates that shaped the central concepts of the project, while the second part of the book presents further practical approaches and examples of diplomatic practice. Lastly, the third part focuses on pedagogical and methodological approaches, which can be useful in diplomacy and communication classes and for the implementation of a European curriculum.

Latin American Diasporas in Public Diplomacy
Latin American Diasporas in Public Diplomacy
Vanessa Bravo and Maria de Moya (eds.)
Palgrave Macmillan

This book on Latin American Diasporas in Public Diplomacy explains and illustrates, through case studies, the different strategic roles that diaspora groups play in modern public diplomacy efforts. These are categorized by being participatory, having a strong involvement of non-state actors, involving frequent partnerships, and placing an increased focus on global issues. In particular, this book provides, in its 13 chapters, the perspective of Latin American diasporas and nations, which are severely underrepresented in the public diplomacy literature. Additionally, because it is written from a strategic communication perspective, this book provides insight into a variety of public diplomacy approaches employed by modern-day diasporas from Latin America. It also describes some examples of diaspora-targeted, state-led public diplomacy efforts in the region. Taking a regional focus to the exploration of diasporas in public diplomacy, this edited book facilitates cross-country comparisons and the understanding of the phenomena beyond the country-specific cases.

Soft Power Internationalism: Competing for Cultural Influence in the 21st-Century Global Order
Soft Power Internationalism: Competing for Cultural Influence in the 21st-Century Global Order
Burcu Baykurt and Victoria de Grazia (eds.)
Columbia University Press

This book is a global comparative history of how soft power came to define the interregnum between the celebration of global capitalism in the 1990s and the recent resurgence of nationalism and authoritarianism. It brings together case studies from the European Union, China, Brazil, Turkey, and the United States, examining the genealogy of soft power in the Euro-Atlantic and its evolution in the hands of other states seeking to counter U.S. hegemony by nonmilitaristic means. Contributors detail how global and regional powers created a variety of new ways of conducting foreign policy, sometimes to build new solidarities outside Western colonial legacies and sometimes with more self-interested purposes. Offering a critical history of soft power as an intellectual project as well as a diplomatic practice, Soft-Power Internationalism provides new perspectives on the potential and limits of a multilateral liberal global order.

Diplomatic Studies

Diplomacy, Communication, and Peace: Selected Essays
William Maley

This book is composed of interconnected essays which reflect on challenging new issues related to diplomacy communication and peace. It begins by drawing out some of the challenges for diplomacy that arise from modern theories of semantics and of strategic communication as well as those posed by the need for secrecy and by the activities of agents of influence. It then proceeds to examine important issues in contemporary diplomacy including refugee diplomacy humanitarian diplomacy sovereignty norms and consular activities. It concludes with an exploration of dilemmas that confront attempts to promote peace through multilateral means such as the limitations of peacemaking diplomacy the difficulty of promoting democratic governance and the problems associated with dealing with morally repugnant actors. The book is grounded in the conception of diplomacy as a social practice with multiple players and recognises that ‘the state’ has many different elements and that ‘state actors’ live in worlds shaped not just by their relations with other states but also by their own complex domestic politics.

Digital Diplomacy and International Organisations Autonomy Legitimacy and Contestation
Corneliu Bjola, Ruben Zaiotti (eds.)

This book examines how international organisations (IOs) have struggled to adapt to the digital age and with social media in particular.The global spread of new digital communication technologies has profoundly transformed the way organisations operate and interact with the outside world. This edited volume explores the impact of digital technologies with a focus on social media for one of the major actors in international affairs namely IOs. To examine the peculiar dynamics characterising the IO–digital nexus the volume relies on theoretical insights drawn from the disciplines of International Relations Diplomatic Studies Media and Communication Studies as well as from Organisation Studies. The volume maps the evolution of IOs’ "digital universe" and examines the impact of digital technologies on issues of organisational autonomy legitimacy and contestation. The volume’s contributions combine engaging theoretical insights with newly compiled empirical material and an eclectic set of methodological approaches (multivariate regression, network analysis, content analysis, sentiment analysis) offering a highly nuanced and textured understanding of the multifaceted complex and ever-evolving nature of the use of digital technologies by international organisations in their multilateral engagements.

China’s Civilian Army
Peter Martin

China's Civilian Army charts China's transformation from an isolated and impoverished communist state to a global superpower from the perspective of those on the front line: China's diplomats. They give a rare perspective on the greatest geopolitical drama of the last half century. In the early days of the People's Republic diplomats were highly-disciplined committed communists who feared revealing any weakness to the threatening capitalist world. Remarkably the model that revolutionary leader Zhou Enlai established continues to this day despite the massive changes the country has undergone in recent decades.

Book cover: Consuls and Captives
Consuls and Captives: Dutch-North African Diplomacy in the Early Modern Mediterranean
Erica Heinsen-Roach
Boydell & Brewer

This work offers a new perspective on the history of diplomacy in the western Mediterranean, examining how piracy and captivity at sea forced Protestant states from northwest Europe to develop complex relationships with Islamic North Africa. Tracing how Dutch diplomats and North African officials negotiated the liberation of Dutch sailors enslaved in the Maghrib, author Erica Heinsen-Roach argues that captivity and redemption helped shape (rather than undermine) a new diplomatic order in the western Mediterranean.

Diplomatic Tenses: A social evolutionary perspective on diplomacy
Iver B. Neumann
Manchester University Press

Offering an alternative and a complement to existing histories of diplomacy, this book discusses change in the form of 'tipping points', which it understands as the culmination of long-term trends. Part I discusses social evolution on the general level of institutions. It argues that in cases where a diplomatic institution's tipping points are defined by the types of entities that make it up, the consular institution has evolved from concerning polities of independent traders to becoming ever more of a state concern. Part II challenges the existing literature's treatment of diplomacy as an elite, textual affair. It lays the groundwork for studying visual diplomacy and observes that the increasingly marginal vision of diplomacy as a confrontation between good and evil survives in popular culture. The book concludes by identifying the future of diplomacy as a struggle between state-to-state based diplomacy and diplomacy as networked global governance.

Feminist Lenses on Global Affairs

Not Always Diplomatic: An Australian Woman’s Journey through International Affairs
Not Always Diplomatic: An Australian Woman’s Journey through International Affairs
Sue Boyd
University of Western Australia Publishing

Not Always Diplomatic chronicles the life of a pioneer in international diplomacy and a career that has spanned the globe. Sue Boyd has been the head of Australian diplomatic missions in Fiji, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Bangladesh. She also had postings at the United Nations in New York and in the former East Germany. Sue Boyd has a story to tell from almost everywhere. She shares this account of her life from her formative years in India, Germany, Ireland, Egypt, Cyprus and Britain through to her years at The University of Western Australia, where she was the first woman to become president of the student guild, beating, among others, Kim Beazley. She then explores her life as a high-flying official firmly ensconced in the ever-changing diplomatic landscape of the 80’s and 90’s.

Gender and Diplomacy
Gender and Diplomacy
Jennifer A. Cassidy

This volume provides a detailed discussion of the role of women in diplomacy and a global narrative of their current and historical role within it. The last century has seen the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) experience seismic shifts in their policies concerning the entry, role and agency of women within their institutional make-up. Despite these changes, and the promise that true gender equality offers to the diplomatic craft, the role of women in the diplomatic sphere continues to remain overlooked, and placed on the fringes of diplomatic scholarship. This volume brings together established scholars and experienced diplomatic practitioners in an attempt to unveil the story of women in diplomacy, in a context which is historical, theoretical and empirical. In line with feminist critical thought, the objective of this volume is to theorize and empirically demonstrate the understanding of diplomacy as a gendered practice and study. The aims of are three-fold: 1) expose and confront the gender of diplomacy; 2) shed light on the historical involvement of women in diplomatic practice in spite of systemic barriers and restrictions, with a focus on critical junctures of diplomatic institutional training and the diplomatic entitlements which were created for women at these junctures; 3) examines the current state of women in diplomacy and evaluate the rate of progress towards a gender-even playing field on the basis thereof.

Women as Foreign Policy Leaders: National Security and Gender Politics in Superpower America
Sylvia Bashevkin
Oxford University Press

What is known about women’s participation as decision-makers in international affairs? Is it fair to assume, as many observers do, that female elites will mirror the relatively pacifist preferences of women in the general public as well as the claims of progressive feminist movements? By focusing on women’s presence in senior national security positions in the American political executive, Women as Foreign Policy Leaders offers among the first systematic responses to these questions.

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