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Diplomacy / Public Diplomacy Fusion

April 22, 2010

At the International Studies Association convention this year one of the top trending ideas (at least among the PD and diplomatic studies scholars there) was the idea that diplomacy and PD should be thought of as basically the same thing. This was tentatively mentioned on the first day and by the fourth was being casually tossed into conversation without explanation. So what do we mean by it?

I can see three elements.

1. There is an analytical strand. Diplomacy and PD are the same kind of thing and can be analysed in the same way. My take is that they are both about the construction and maintenance of relationships and hence fit with a social network approach.

2. There is a practice strand. D and PD aren’t separate activities and should be done together. You can argue that this was the logic of the State/USIA merger even if it hasn’t worked as well as hoped. Also if you talk to British diplomats they will tell you that lack of resources means that you can’t afford to think in terms of separate streams of activities. More generally this fits with the standard policy foreign lament that we (whoever we are) need to integrate all the tools of policy.

3. There is a normative strand. Should D and PD be fused? This remains to be explored. Within the PD world are plenty of people who argue that some kinds of fusion should be avoided eg cultural diplomacy, exchanges, broadcasting etc should be thought of as different from D and/or PD.

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One comment

  1. […] seems to me that this fits with the ideas of diplomacy/public diplomacy fusion or hybrid diplomacy that grow quite naturally out of FCO thinking under the Labour […]



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