The Four Paradigms of Public Diplomacy: A Longer Version

April 16, 2012

At the International Studies Association I presented a paper based on the four paradigms of public diplomacy concept that I blogged about here.  The paper is here: ISA 2012 v4

In the paper I argue that one way to improve our understanding of public diplomacy is through comparative studies but in order to do this we need ways of talking about national approaches.  Hence the four paradigms (extended diplomacy, national projection, cultural relations, and conflict mode (or political warfare) and the balance between them tends to give distinct national approaches.  In the paper I go further and suggest that we should map the paradigms onto national organizational fields (this is bit underdeveloped but I will come back to this.)  The final part of the paper applies these ideas to the UK, France, Germany and the US.  Looking at the balance between concepts and at the way they map onto organizational fields provides a way of talking about the ways that different countries approach external communications activities.

In terms of findings I argue that France and Germany models have been strongly marked by a concern with culture although institutionally the French model has had a much greater degree of foreign ministry steering. In both cases over the past 15 years there has been a greater interest in alternative models. Across all four countries there has been a growth in the influence of economically motivated projection (branding activities).  The US is summed up as ‘political warfare and its critics’ the Second World War, the Cold War and the War on Terror have had a strong impact on American models although it can be argued that PD2.0, 21st century statecraft etc are indicators of strengthening of a view of PD as an extension of diplomacy.   As soon as you start to make comparisons you are forced to try and explain the similarities and differences the become visible so this is has been an extremely fruitful exercise for me.

The response to the overall approach and argument of the paper has been extremely positive although Nick Cull and Ellen Huijgh raised some important questions about aspects of the US and French cases that will be addressed in the next iteration.

One comment

  1. Here again, food for thought, thank you Robin.
    I am currently writing something on one of Finland’s public diplomacy committees, the 1988-1990 “Kantine” committee, and I will try to test these categories.

    On what you say about contextualization, I could not agree more.

    What did Cull and Huijgh raise about the French case? I would have things of my own, but out of curiosity, could you tell what they emphasized?

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