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The SAGE Handbook of


Michele Acuto, University College London

Rebecca Adler-Nissen, University of Copenhagen
Karin Aggestam, Lund University, Sweden
Peter van Bergeijk, Erasmus University, Netherlands
Corneliu Bjola, University of Oxford
Caitlin Byrne, Bond University, Australia
David Clinton, Baylor University, USA
No Cornago, University of the Basque Country
Erik Goldstein, Boston University, USA
Paul Harris, The Hong Kong Institute of Education
Gunther Hellmann, Goethe University Frankfurt
Alan Henrikson, Tufts University, USA
Dennis Jett, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Christer Jonsson, Lund University, Sweden
Richard Langhorne, University of Buckingham
Jan Melissen, Clingendael, Netherlands
Raquel Meneses, University of Porto
Iver Neumann, The London School of Economics and Political
Science (LSE)
Donna Oglesby, The Public Diplomacy Council
Geoffrey Pigman, Bennington College, USA
Kishan S. Rana, DiploFoundation
Joana Setzer, The London School of Economics and Political
Science (LSE)
Mikael Soendergaard, Aarhus University, Denmark
Yolanda Kemp Spies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Yannis Stivachtis, Virginia Tech, USA
See Seng Tan, Nanyang Technical University, Singapore
Sam Okoth Opondo, Vassar College, USA
I. William Zartman, Johns Hopkins University, USA
Qingmin Zhang, Peking University, China
The SAGE Handbook of

Edited by
Costas M. Constantinou,
Pauline Kerr and Paul Sharp
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Chapter 14 Paul Sharp and Chapter 40 Paul Meerts 2016
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Chapter 15 David Clinton 2016 Chapter 42 Melissa Conley Tyler
Chapter 16 Linda S. Frey and and Craig Beyerinck 2016
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List of Abstracts ix
List of Figures, Tables and Boxes xxvi
Notes on the Editors and Contributors xxvii

Introduction: Understanding diplomatic practice 1

Costas M. Constantinou, Pauline Kerr and Paul Sharp


1 Theoretical perspectives in diplomacy 13

Costas M. Constantinou and Paul Sharp

2 A conceptual history of diplomacy 28

Halvard Leira

3 Diplomacy and the colonial encounter 39

Sam Okoth Opondo

4 Statecraft, strategy and diplomacy 54

Markus Kornprobst

5 Diplomacy and foreign policy 67

Brian Hocking

6 Diplomacy, communication and signaling 79

Christer Jnsson

7 Diplomatic agency 92
Rebecca Adler-Nissen

8 Diplomatic culture 104

Fiona McConnell and Jason Dittmer

9 Diplomacy and the arts 114

Iver B. Neumann

10 Diplomatic ethics 123

Corneliu Bjola

11 Diplomatic knowledge 133

No Cornago


12 Embassies, permanent missions and special missions 149

Kishan S. Rana

13 Consulates and consular diplomacy 161

Ana Mar Fernndez Pasarn

14 The diplomatic corps 171

Paul Sharp and Geoffrey Wiseman

15 Diplomacy and international law 185

David Clinton

16 Diplomatic immunity 197

Linda S. Frey and Marsha L. Frey

17 Diplomacy and negotiation 207

I. William Zartman

18 Diplomatic mediation 220

Karin Aggestam

19 Diplomatic summitry 231

David Hastings Dunn and Richard Lock-Pullan

20 Diplomatic language 242

Donna Marie Oglesby


21 Diplomatic relations between states 257

Alan James

22 Great power diplomacy 268

Cornelia Navari

23 Middle power diplomacy 281

Yolanda Kemp Spies

24 Small state diplomacy 294

Baldur Thorhallsson and Alyson J.K. Bailes

25 European Union diplomacy 308

Michael Smith

26 American diplomacy 319

Alan K. Henrikson
Contents vii

27 Russian post-Soviet diplomacy 336

Tatiana Zonova

28 Chinas diplomacy 348

Zhimin Chen

29 Diplomacy in East Asia 361

Pauline Kerr

30 Latin American diplomacy 372

Sean W. Burges and Fabrcio H. Chagas Bastos

31 Middle East diplomacy 385

Stephan Stetter

32 African diplomacy 398

Asteris Huliaras and Konstantinos Magliveras

33 Southern African diplomacy 414

Stephen Chan

34 Developing states diplomacy 423

Stephen Calleya


35 Public diplomacy 437

Ellen Huijgh

36 Quiet and secret diplomacy 451

William Maley

37 Crisis diplomacy 462

Edward Avenell and David Hastings Dunn

38 Coercive diplomacy 476

Peter Viggo Jakobsen

39 Revolutionary diplomacy 487

David Armstrong

40 Conference diplomacy 499

Paul Meerts

41 City diplomacy 510

Michele Acuto

42 Citizen diplomacy 521

Melissa Conley Tyler and Craig Beyerinck

43 Celebrity diplomacy 530

Mark Wheeler

44 Digital diplomacy 540

Eytan Gilboa

45 Economic diplomacy 552

Maaike Okano-Heijmans

46 Business diplomacy 564

Huub Rul and Tim Wolters

47 Religion and diplomacy 577

David Joseph Wellman

48 Military diplomacy 591

See Seng Tan

49 Environmental diplomacy 601

Saleem H. Ali and Helena Voinov Vladich

50 Sports diplomacy 617

Stuart Murray

51 Science diplomacy 628

Daryl Copeland

52 Indigenous diplomacy 642

J. Marshall Beier

53 Pariah diplomacy 654

Hussein Banai

Index 666
List of Abstracts



This chapter maps the evolution of diplomatic theory, within and across the discipline of
International Relations (IR). It looks at early (classical and modern) perspectives in diplomacy
as developed by orators, scholars and reflective practitioners. It also examines the perceived
neglect of diplomacy within mainstream IR theory, its contested purpose and means, whether
it is an instrument or a medium, its epistemic links to the study of foreign policy and statecraft,
and its role in the production, maintenance and transformation of international systems. It out-
lines the contributions of critical theorizing with regard to exposing the knowledge contests and
power implications of dominant understandings and practices of diplomacy, and its retrieving
of alternative, non-elitist and non-state-centric cultures and practices. Finally, it looks at theo-
retical perspectives in diplomacy as developed within other disciplines, such as anthropology,
psychology, religious and cultural studies.


This chapter deals with the development of the concept of diplomacy. The focus is on how a
specific understanding of diplomacy emerged and has developed over the last 250 years.
Detailing first the etymological roots, the chapter deals primarily with how diplomacy emerged
as a derogatory term during the revolutionary period, and how its meaning was immediately
challenged by revolutionaries seeking to replace the old diplomacy with a new one. Calls for
new diplomacy have been many in the ensuing centuries, but the way in which diplomacy itself
has changed content is evident in that the calls are now for reform, rather than for revolution
and/or abolishment.


This chapter raises questions about modern diplomacys entanglements with colonial encoun-
ters and practices. Through a contrapuntal reading of the ethic of the necessity for continuous
negotiations among other conceptions and practices of diplomacy, the chapter raises questions
about discourses on the genres of man, Eurocentrism, elitism and the statist geophilosophy
that underlines the monological conception of diplomacy as statecraft or a set of skills, norms
and rituals peculiar to professional diplomats. It also reveals the coloniality of modern diplo-
macy and the transgressive and life-affirming diplomatic practices and imaginaries that emerge
in the colonies and elsewhere.


How do statecraft, strategy and diplomacy hang together? This chapter identifies five perspec-
tives that address this question: classical realism, rational choice, cognitive approaches, cultural-
ist approaches and critical approaches. After identifying the strengths and weaknesses of these
perspectives, I make a case for more eclecticism. Statecraft, strategy and diplomacy are more
important than ever in our globalizing age, in which more and more political issues move from
the domestic to the international stage. But given global changes, we need to re-think the con-
ceptual triad, similarly to scholars before us when they tried to make sense of a changing world.


As the nature of foreign policy has changed in response to shifts in both international and domes-
tic policy milieus, so the boundaries traditionally regarded as demarcating both features of the
international order have weakened. This has produced challenges for both practitioners and
observers of diplomatic processes and structures. In one sense, this is a manifestation of a long-
established dual problem reflecting fundamental questions concerning the legitimacy of diplo-
macy and its efficiency in meeting the challenges of a changing foreign policy environment.


Communication is essential to diplomacy. Diplomatic communication is both verbal and non-

verbal, including not only words as well as actions, but also silence and inactivity. Diplomats
send signals intended to convey messages, which are subject to decoding and interpretation.
Throughout history verbal communication has relied on a lingua franca of diplomacy. More
importantly, a common language has been developed in terms of shared symbols and references
and interpretation of words and actions. Nonverbal signaling covers a range from personal
gestures, via meeting and travel logistics, to the manipulation of military forces. The tension
between the need for clarity and the incentives for constructive ambiguity impels diplomats to
spend much time and effort on the formulation and interpretation of signals. The speed of dip-
lomatic communication has varied over time. The revolution in information and communica-
tion technology tends to challenge the privileged role of diplomats in transborder communication
and endanger flexibility and confidentiality. While there is no paradigmatic approach in the
study of diplomatic communication, there is a store of applicable analytical tools and ample
room for more theory-driven, systematic studies of diplomatic communication.


Diplomatic agency is intriguing. On the one hand, diplomats are crucial to the management of
day-to-day international relations and the negotiation of war and peace. On the other hand,
most diplomatic action is highly constrained or invisible. This chapter provides an overview of
the ways in which diplomatic agency has been conceptualized in International Relations theory
(English School, game theory, Foreign Policy Analysis, constructivism, practice
List of Abstracts xi

theory, post-positivism) before presenting and exemplifying major and overlapping types of
diplomatic agency, including communication, negotiation and advocacy. It analyzes how pro-
fessionalization, legalization, personalization and popularization of diplomacy have shaped
diplomatic agency including how international law, bureaucracy, public diplomacy and new
information technologies have impacted the scope and content of diplomatic agency. Finally, it
discusses how diplomatic agency is linked to conceptions of diplomatic representation and
legitimacy in its actual, functional and symbolic forms.


This chapter discusses diplomatic culture in its various iterations. It begins by tracing the
genealogy of diplomatic culture as a universal cosmopolitan culture, a perspective most com-
monly associated with Hedley Bull and the English School of International Relations. We then
turn from this abstraction to the concrete ways in which diplomats seek to reproduce particular
aspects of their culture through professionalization. In the final section, we examine the prolif-
eration of diplomatic cultures, concluding that the multiplicity of diplomacies (and hence,
diplomatic cultures) is a source of strength for diplomacy, and attempts to produce a monolithic
diplomatic culture are bound to fail.


Diplomatic sites are saturated with art. Art always creates ambiance, and is sometimes also
used by diplomats to project representations of polities. Art and diplomacy need one another to
create the high status that they share. If diplomats are interested in art, art is also interested in
diplomats. Diplomacy and diplomats are objects of artistic representation. They are also
amongst the phenomena represented in popular culture, particularly within the genres of sci-
ence fiction and fantasy. These representations have legitimacy effects. The chapter breaks
down these questions and discusses the sparse extant literature.


The delegated source of authority of diplomatic agency protects diplomats against ethical scru-
tiny, but their indirect exercise of power manifestly turns them into morally accountable sub-
jects. This chapter examines this puzzle in two steps. First, it argues that the normative basis of
ethical judgement of diplomats actions has historically revolved around the principle of loy-
alty, first to the Prince, later to the State and more recently to People. Each loyalty dimension
sets limitations for moral inquiry, which are rather difficult to address from a theoretically
abstract perspective. Second, the paper offers a contextually tailored framework of ethical
analysis centred on the concept of reflection-in-action by which diplomats seek to align the
practical requirements of the situation at hand with the normative imperatives prompted by
their divided loyalties. The context in which diplomats handle ethical challenges through
reflection and action is therefore a determining factor for understanding the extent to which the
actions taken by a diplomat are morally justifiable.


This chapter examines the crucial importance of knowledge for the instrumental and commu-
nicative functions that diplomacy has performed historically and is still expected to perform.
In so doing, the relationship between diplomacy and knowledge is examined through four
different but related prisms. First, in the light of current discussions in the fields of epistemol-
ogy and sociology of knowledge, specific attention will be paid to the conditions under which
the mutually constitutive relationship between the practice of diplomacy and the acquisition
and diffusion of knowledge in the most diverse domains emerged and evolved historically.
Second, the importance of diplomacy as heterology, that is, as a venue for trans-cultural com-
munication, humanistic discovery and understanding and its unending negotiation of identity
and difference between political communities, is examined. Third, the theoretical foundations
and the practical dimensions of diplomatic knowledge as statecraft and its corresponding tech-
niques from personal observation, reporting or espionage to remote sensing and satellite
driven geographical information systems are discussed. Finally, it will discuss what can be
called the diplomatization of knowledge in the wider social realm, as well as its implications
for our understanding of diplomacy as it is practised today, in the post-Wikileaks era, by a
growing variety of public and private agents.



The resident embassy symbolizes the international system. Embassies are older than foreign
ministries and have evolved since inception in ancient times when emissaries were sent to
foreign courts. The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations sets the framework
for the functioning of embassies. The utility of maintaining embassy networks is a perennial
question; counter-intuitively we now find that resident embassies provide enhanced value
in our globalized world of instant communication, volatility of international affairs and
information overload, if only foreign ministries use them as key agents of bilateral diplo-
macy. Permanent missions, accredited to international or regional organizations remain
equally pertinent. We witness the emergence of new representation forms, aimed at cost
reduction, and these trends are likely to gain traction. Countries will always need agents on
the ground, to build trust and pursue relationships with widening circles of state and
non-state actors, working in varied circumstances, far removed from the formal settings of
the past.


This chapter analyses the consular dimension of diplomacy. It traces the historical development
of the consular institution as a subfield of diplomatic representation, and examines its interna-
tional codification, traditional functions and evolving practice in the face of contemporary
challenges such as border security policy or the management of large-scale natural or man-
made disasters. These developments have contributed to highlighting the strategic role played
by consular officers in a globalized society. Key aspects of consular affairs today
List of Abstracts xiii

include dealing with increasing citizens expectations for responsive, efficient, multi-channel
and customer service-oriented administrations: demands that have led foreign affairs ministries
(MFA) to implement new forms of consular governance, among which consular cooperation,
the delegation of representation, the automation of services, or the outsourcing of less sensitive
consular functions stand out.


The diplomatic corps is a term which conventionally refers to the diplomats of other sovereign
states resident in a capital city. It can also refer to the diplomats accredited to regional or
international organizations. Both its practical operations and its theoretical significance have
been neglected until recently. This chapter examines the possible reasons for this neglect in the
context of two trends: First, the terms apparently increasing use to refer to the diplomatic
service of a particular state. Second, the rising significance of a broader term the diplomatic
community of which the diplomatic corps is only one part and which encompasses the pro-
liferating number and types of other international actors active in a capital city or international
headquarters city. Although less significant than formerly, the diplomatic corps persists and
remains an important, if elusive, set of practices that help constitute the international society
of states.


Diplomacy and international law share ancient origins as ways in which the participants in a
highly pluralistic society, engaging in intensive interactions but lacking an authoritative sover-
eign over them, found means of regulating their conflictual and cooperative dealings. Despite
the similarity in their background, diplomacy and international law have always been charac-
terized by a complex relationshipsometimes competitive, sometimes complementary, and
sometimes mutually reinforcing. They are also alike in that the rise of non-state actors seeking
at least partial recognition as players in diplomacy and subjects of international law has diversi-
fied the roster and complicated the rules. This development, if no others, will ensure that these
two primary ways of carrying on international society will continue to evolve, as they have
throughout their history.


From ancient times to the present, many civilizations have respected the inviolability of envoys.
Necessity forced most cultures to accord envoys basic protections because only then was inter-
course between peoples possible. Rooted in necessity, immunity was buttressed by religion,
sanctioned by custom, and fortified by reciprocity. As the essential foundations of immunity
shifted from religious to legal, what had once been an expedient became over time a precedent.
Courtesies hardened and over time became rights. When expedients evolved into precedents
and earlier courtesies into rights, the issue of whether and under what circumstances envoys

were entitled to immunity became a legal one. Ultimately, national laws and international
treaties codified these privileges.


Negotiations are the basic means of diplomacy, to pursue, prevent, manage, resolve, and
transform conflicts among states (and other parties), to overcome problems and to instill
cooperation. Negotiation has increased significantly since the end of the Cold War, but faces
new types of challenges in fanatical ideological conflicts and worn out cooperative regimes.
Negotiation operates under an unspoken Ethos of Equality, with notions of equal status, equal
treatment, reciprocity and justice as its defining characteristics. Although parties are never
equal in power, a sense of equality is helpful to productive negotiation. A perception of a mutu-
ally hurting stalemate (MHS) and a way out (WO) define a ripe moment, necessary but insuf-
ficient for the initiation of negotiations. Negotiations pass through the overlapping phases of
diagnosis, formulation, and detailing to create a coherent agreement, reached through conces-
sions, compensation, and construction (reframing). Conflict management ends violence and
contains the promise for conflict resolution, which settles the issues of the conflict, removes
the pressure to attain it.


The study of international mediation reflects a broad range of theoretical perspectives, meth-
odological approaches and empirical practices. This chapter compares two dominant modes:
principal and pure mediation. They illuminate contrasting assumptions about leverage,
resources, power, strategy, entry and outcome. The chapter identifies three salient challenges
that diplomatic mediation faces in theory and practice: (1) resistance to negotiation and media-
tion; (2) quest of timing; and (3) management of devious objectives. The chapter concludes by
arguing that the study of international mediation needs to engage more with normative and
critical perspectives including gender analysis as a way to move the research agenda


Summit diplomacy is the meeting of political leaders at the highest possible level. Although
this practice dates back to the earliest days of diplomacy it was rare for the rulers of powerful
states to meet in person until the nineteenth century. Now, however, summits are frequent and
have superseded many more traditional forms and methods of diplomacy, especially as demo-
cratic politics has become more important in the summit processes. Summits have also increas-
ingly become institutionalized. This chapter explores the history of summitry, the nature of
modern summitry since the advent of nuclear weapons, and examines how to define the current
nature of summitry as the range of meetings between executive leaders has expanded and
evolved, ranging from G8 summits to personal bi-lateral summitry.
List of Abstracts xv


The chapter Diplomatic Language examines the signals, codes and conventions constructed
over time by diplomats to smooth and soothe the process of communication between states and
the organizations created by states in the international political realm. It argues that diplomatic
language is instrumental: it serves the purpose of allowing diplomats to form and maintain
relationships with those who manage international relations. The chapter examines the theory
and the practice of diplomatic speech acts through various theoretical perspectives. It explores
the balance diplomats attempt to achieve between ambiguity and precision in the production of
diplomatic texts. And, it considers how the expanded, and increasingly diverse, cast of actors
on the diplomatic stage, with their contesting scripts and varied audiences, are changing the
discourse patterns.


States, being notional persons, can only communicate with each other through their
representatives. Such communication is primarily conducted via the diplomatic system the
world-wide network of embassies and allied arrangements, staffed by a multitude of diplo-
mats. But to get easy and straightforward communication started (or resumed) between any
two states, they have to agree to be in diplomatic relations. Almost all pairs of states do this.
Accordingly, the concept of diplomatic relations is the key which opens the way to normal
communication between states. As such it is a fundamental element in the whole inter-state


This chapter defines Great Powers and the capacities they are expected to have. It provides a
brief history of their presence as diplomatic actors from the peace negotiations that concluded
the Napoleonic wars through the nineteenth century, the major congresses that ensued and their
results, and the institutionalization of their roles in international organization in the
twentieth century. It considers the influence/power that each exercised, over what issues,
during what periods, and through the use of what methods and mechanisms. It concludes with
the four different approaches through which great power diplomacy can be understood, revis-
ited and revised.


Middle power diplomacy may be a contested and equivocal concept, but it offers a useful ana-
lytical tool to scholars and practitioners of diplomacy. It facilitates the understanding and pre-
diction of state behaviour in the global diplomatic arena, and provides insights as to the
projection of state identity through diplomacy. It also assists with comprehension of the

changing norms and conventions that infuse the notion of international society. Importantly,
middle power theory elucidates a fascinating phenomenon within global structural power: the
dynamic diplomacy of states whose influence and leadership seem disproportionately large
compared to their material, quantitative attributes.


Small states must acknowledge their limited diplomatic capacity. They need to take appropriate
measures to compensate for these limitations, and utilize special characteristics of their public
administration and foreign service such as informal ways of communication, flexibility in
decision-making and autonomy of officials in order to defend their interests and gain influ-
ence in dealings with the outside world. Small states vary enormously in their diplomatic
capacity, but those possessing basic economic and administrative competence can build on
these and other features associated with smallness to succeed in international negotiations.


The emerging system of diplomacy in the European Union has gained additional impetus and
been newly institutionalised since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. This hybrid
system of diplomatic representation and action involves not only a range of Brussels institu-
tions but also the EU Member States. The chapter looks first at the evolution of the current
system and then at the new institutional context following the Lisbon Treaty. Ensuing sections
explore the nature of the EU diplomat and of EU diplomatic practices, the orientation and
impact of EU diplomacy, and the types of theoretical approaches that can be deployed in order
to understand the EUs system of diplomacy.


The diplomacy of the United States originated in the American nation, rather than deriving
from state authority, and it continues to reflect republican ideals and democratic values.
Somewhat paradoxically, while inheriting an anti-diplomatic bias owing to the American
Revolutions rejection of the hierarchy of European society, egalitarian Americans themselves
have freely engaged in making international connections. Benjamin Franklin is the prototype.
Americas first public diplomat, he set an example of citizen involvement. US professional
diplomacy, as distinct from consular activity in support of American commerce, came only
with the Rogers Act of 1924. The Second World War and the Cold War as well as the Global
War on Terror have increased the role of the military and the intelligence community in
Americas international relations. The Department of State has sought to augment its influence
at home and abroad by drawing upon the nations civilian power and engaging foreign publics
directly through the use of information technology and social media. Never merely intergov-
ernmental, American diplomacy is international as well.
List of Abstracts xvii


Russian diplomacy has evolved through several historical stages. Over time, Byzantine tradi-
tion was substituted by a secular diplomacy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the foreign
policy decision making process also changed. According to the Constitution it is the President
who determines the guidelines of foreign policy. From the mid-1990s the idea of creating
a multipolar world and maintaining relations based on effective multilateralism has become
more and more important for Russias foreign policy and diplomacy. Relations with the former
Soviet republics became one of its priorities. Russian diplomacy has tried to improve existing
diplomatic structures and processes, and to create new ones for multilateral interstate coopera-
tion. Great attention is paid to economic and energy diplomacy, network diplomacy and public
diplomacy. Nearly 1000 Russian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are also engaged
in foreign relations. The Subjects of the Russian Federation develop their international activity
in the framework of what is increasingly known as paradiplomacy. The role of women in diplo-
macy still tends to be underestimated and there is considerable room for improvement in this


Historically, China, as a pivotal regional power in East Asia, developed its own ways of
conducting foreign relations. In the nineteenth century, in a western-dominated world, China
was forced to embrace modern diplomacy. Through its internal revolutions in the nineteenth
century, China rebuilt itself into a strong sovereign state. Due to its economic success,
unleashed by its integration with the world economy from the late 1970s, China is now
reemerging as a major power in world affairs and starting to adopt a more proactive diplomacy.
To make this argument this chapter is divided into four parts. The first part provides an histori-
cal account of the factors that influence Chinese diplomacy. The second part analyzes the
institutional arrangements of contemporary Chinese diplomacy. And in the third part, behavio-
ral patterns of Chinas diplomacy are identified. Finally, various understandings and predic-
tions of Chinas future diplomacy are canvassed.


There is a surprising deficit of studies on diplomacy in East Asia. Surprising because the region
is economically the worlds most dynamic and, politically, one of the worlds most tense, not
least because there is diplomatic competition between the US and a rising China. The Asian
Century in East Asia is under-investigated in diplomatic studies. Unless its past and present
evolution is understood, signs of its possible demise may be missed. This chapter starts from
the assumption that this situation needs to be rectified. It argues that, from its examination of
multilateral economic and security diplomacy in the region, there are several generalisations
that could inform hypotheses needed to start an urgently required research agenda on diplo-
macy in East Asia.



In this chapter we argue that although there is a temptation to view Latin American diplomacy
as a single entity, such an approach is mistaken. Pressure to manage relations with the US and
external assumption of homogenization underpins a double movement in regional diplomacy
that sees a simultaneous process of coordination and fragmentation. With this in mind, we offer
five principles for a general understanding of Latin American diplomacy. First, the region is not
a homogenous entity. Second, although coordination is frequent, it is too much to speak of
either unity or coalition in the Americas. Third, regional collectivization of positions is used as
a strategy to protect national autonomy. Fourth, foreign policy is predominantly directed at
structural, not relative power games. Finally, national development is the overriding priority
and aim.


This chapter studies contemporary Middle East diplomacy by drawing from historical sociol-
ogy, global history and social theory. It focuses in particular on how modern world society/
culture, on the one hand, and a global political system characterized by considerable underly-
ing hierarchies both in colonial and post-colonial environs, on the other, shape Middle East
diplomacy. It then discusses three major sites of Middle East practice/struggles in this context
of modern world society, namely (1) diplomatic anxiety, (2) popular, transnational as well as
cultural diplomacy and (3) sublime diplomacy.


In the 1960s, after a long period of colonialism, most African states acquired their independ-
ence and soon became embroiled in the Cold Wars competition. Bipolar rivalry obstructed the
internationalization of Africas diplomacy. Only after the mid-1990s did Africas foreign rela-
tions expand considerably, having been assisted by economic development and recurrent waves
of democratic consolidation as well as by the advent of multilateralism. Today, the African
Union aims at becoming the continents principal representative on the international plane.


This chapter looks at Southern African Diplomacy as developed after the independence process
began. It focuses on the Rhodesia issue and Zimbabwean diplomacy and how African and
international diplomacy dealt with the Apartheid regime in South Africa. It then examines the
challenges and prospects of South African diplomacy in the post-Apartheid era. It finally pro-
vides an overview of the great issues ahead within the context of African Union diplomacy and
the future of the continent.
List of Abstracts xix


This chapter examines the challenges small developing states are facing and identifies trends
in their foreign policy decision-making track record. The fact that small developing countries
have limited human and natural resources gives rise to numerous questions addressed in this
analysis: what are the strategic mechanisms that small developing states employ?; what are
the primary motivations that guide developing states diplomacy?; how do small developing
states pursue their strategic objectives; how do small developing states prioritize their
foreign policy objectives to remain relevant in the international society of states? This
chapter also includes a review of the evolution of Maltas foreign policy, as an example of a
developing states diplomatic practice. The study concludes by exploring future options
available to developing states to help them maintain a relevant stance in an ever changing
international system, including focusing on multilateral diplomacy.


Public diplomacy is a widespread practice at the heart of diplomacy, shaped by the ebbs and
flows of circumstances in society as a whole. Part of the ongoing democratization of
diplomacy, it is also a driver of it, kicked into high gear by globalization and the

communication revolution. The development of public diplomacy amounts to the broaden-

ing of actors, issues, and instruments and must therefore contend with increased complexity
and blurring boundaries in this digital age. Public diplomacy has become a multidiscipli-
nary field of study that now extends beyond the confines of diplomatic studies. Its present
form is so diverse that it has become a generic term with a fluid meaning. Within diplomatic
studies, what are referred to as traditional and new diplomacy are now seen as too cat-
egorical, with moves toward more integrative scholarship. Much more study, particularly of
a comprehensive nature (such as theoretical and empirical case study research on integra-
tive public diplomacy), is required before claims about the future of public diplomacy


Quiet and secret diplomacy entail more than simply discretion: they involve a conscious
desire to leave activities unadvertised, or to hide certain forms of engagement from scrutiny.
Secrecy has a long history: it has been reinforced on occasion by laws and institutions, and
has long been used to hide the frailties of political leaders. Secrecy can provide space for
complex negotiations, especially with unappealing actors such as terrorist groups. However,
it may be difficult to maintain, it may be a barrier to learning from experience and it is
increasingly challenged by vigorous media, and by the expansion in the range of actors
involved in diplomacy. Its consequences are often difficult to assess; as a result, it may be
that it is best appraised by attention to situational issues rather than some grand ethical


Crisis diplomacy plays a vital role in the modern international system. It has had to be continu-
ally adapted as the world has changed. The crises that dominated the twentieth century are very
different from those that are occurring in the twenty-first century. These crises are no longer
restrained to armed conflicts between states but can emerge from every arena, financial, medi-
cal and natural. As the world has become smaller the potential impact of these crises has
become much greater, with some able to quickly effect every corner of the globe. New tools
and practices have developed, such as the Responsibility to Protect, which marks a significant
development in crisis diplomacy. Researchers studying crisis diplomacy need to work closer
with those practising it to better understand the changing nature of crisis and ensure that the
practice of crisis diplomacy is fit to meet these challenges.


Coercive diplomacy (CD) involves the use of military threats and/or limited force in support of
diplomatic negotiations relying on persuasion, rewards and assurances. This combination of
coercion (sticks) and diplomacy (carrots) is as old as the practice of diplomacy, and it is typi-
cally employed when actors want to resolve war-threatening crises and conflicts without resort-
ing to full-scale war. This chapter analyses the establishment of CD as a field of study during
the Cold War and shows how the theory and practice of CD has evolved in response to the
strategic challenges of the day. Four separate strategic eras with distinct challenges and theo-
retical developments are identified since the fields emergence in the 1960s: the Cold War, the
humanitarian 1990s, the war on terror and the hybrid future. The record clearly shows that
skilful use of coercive diplomacy can resolve crises and conflicts short of full-scale war when
the conditions are right. However, it is equally clear that our understanding of these conditions
remains wanting in several respects. More research and scholarly attention are needed if we
want to realize more of the potential for peaceful conflict resolution that coercive diplomacy
does hold.


Revolutionary diplomacy refers to the international outlook and conduct of states which,
having undergone an internal revolution, adopt very radical postures in their external relations.
Such postures inevitably have consequences for the ways states approach their diplomatic
relations with other states. Examples include the United States of America, France, Soviet
Russia, China, Iran and Libya. In the more extreme cases revolutionary states view world
politics from a completely different perspective from the underlying principles of conven-
tional diplomacy. The chapter outlines the role of diplomacy as an institution aimed at resolv-
ing disputes within a society of sovereign states and the inevitable confrontation between
the conventional and the revolutionary views of diplomacy. It concludes by considering the
degree to which revolutionary states become socialised into adopting the more conventional
norms and practices prevailing in the international community and also the extent to which
List of Abstracts xxi

international society itself changes in the process of the interaction between revolutionary and
conventional diplomacy.


As modern technology makes war more costly, negotiations within and outside diplomatic
conferences are becoming increasingly important, both as a peaceful decision-making and a
conflict-management mechanism. This chapter analyzes the nature and evolution of conference
diplomacy. It argues that negotiations are vulnerable, unless they are protected by procedural
frameworks, comprising rules and conventions, such as those adopted in conference diplomacy
conducted by organizations such as the United Nations. The study also raises questions about
the future role of conference diplomacy in a globalizing world in which diplomats are losingtheir
traditional hegemony in international relations. It concludes with several recommendations for
enhancing the effectiveness, and thereby the significance, of conference diplomacy in the future.


World affairs are today more and more intertwined with the growing implications of urbanisa-
tion. Cities are increasingly popular actors on a number of fronts from the environment, to
security and health. Yet how does this shape diplomacy? The chapter takes the phenomenon of
city diplomacy as the practice of mediated international relations by local governments as a
starting point to answer this question. It argues that city diplomacy helps us expand our narrow
International Relations horizon, reacquainting ourselves with the long dure of world politics,
and appreciating the networked patterns that cities are weaving in international affairs. To make
this argument the chapter explores the long affair between cities and diplomacy, the challenges
in studying city diplomacy, the advances and limitations of practices of city diplomacy and
concludes with observations about its future in an increasingly urban age.


Definitions of what citizen diplomacy is and who can be considered to be citizen diplomats are
highly contested. The term citizen diplomacy can be used either as a metaphor for those who
are involved in international interactions or, more narrowly, to refer to state-sanctioned use of
citizens in more traditional forms of diplomacy. While the actions of private citizens have long
played a role in interstate relations, either for or against their states interests, there has been a
strong preference by states for official diplomacy. However, ease of travel and communication
have led to a growing role for private citizens in relations between states. People-to-people
contact between citizens can have benefits including forming deep and long-lasting relation-
ships that are perceived as authentic and untouched by government. Changes in diplomatic
practice mean a growing place for citizen diplomacy to fill the gaps found between publics and
traditional diplomatic practice.


This chapter analyses whether celebrity diplomats have effected a politics of attraction
through which they may bring public attention to international causes, such as poverty and
human rights. It situates the theoretical concepts of celebrity diplomacy associated with soft
power within a broader public diplomacy literature. It provides case studies of humanitarian
initiatives supported by international governmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), and go it alone individuals or groups. Finally, it considers the critiques
of celebrity diplomacy in relation to celebrity-driven affective capacities (for example,
famous peoples ability to establish representational relationships with their audiences).


This chapter explores the meaning, evolution, contribution and effects of new information and
communication technologies (ICTs) on diplomacy. It clarifies definitions and distinctions
between digital diplomacy (DD) and other areas of diplomacy. It traces the historical develop-
ment of DD, primarily via the American experience. It moves from diplomacy 1.0 to diplomacy
2.0, from passive email and websites to the hyper interactive social media of Facebook,
YouTube and Twitter. The chapter investigates the effects of DD on foreign ministries, the
Foreign Service, audiences, and public diplomacy (PD), and exposes limitations and challenges
for both research and practice.


Economic diplomacy is a contested concept and a diverse practice. Nonetheless, the processes
of globalization including the revolution in communications technologies are connecting
the worlds economies, while shifts in global power are causing governments to review the
balance between their different national interests. The economic dimension of states foreign
policies and therefore the role of economic diplomacy is receiving much attention. This chapter
argues that as a result of these changes, the concept and practice of economic diplomacy is
evolving, becoming more comprehensive and covering at least three types of diplomatic activ-
ity: trade and investment promotion (commercial diplomacy), negotiations on economic agree-
ments (trade diplomacy) and development cooperation. The evolving nature of economic
diplomacy is driving change in domestic and multilateral institutions, including new ways of
decision making. Despite these and other changes, such as diplomatic networks of state and
non-state actors, the state continues to be the primary actor in economic diplomacy.


Decades of globalization have intensified the relationship between business and governments,
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and interest groups. The role of multinational corpo-
rations (MNCs) in todays complex business landscape has grown to such an extent that MNCs
List of Abstracts xxiii

have a leverage that is comparable to nation-states. In this perspective, MNCs have become
diplomatic actors. However, they are experiencing increased pressure from a multitude of stake-
holders. In order to manage these pressures and create legitimacy, MNCs need to engage in
long-term relationships with foreign governments and NGOs. This chapter aims to deepen our
understanding of this relatively unexplored and fragmented concept of business diplomacy.


When examining the religious dimension in the analysis and practice of diplomacy, it is impor-
tant to first distinguish between two broad categories of analysis. The first category, which
comes under the rubric of religion and diplomacy, refers principally to the influence of religion
on the practice of track-one diplomacy among nation-state actors. The second category, faith-
based diplomacy, generally refers to the practice of diplomacy on the part of track-two actors in
the form of religious institutions, religiously affiliated NGOs and/or individual practitioners of a
religious tradition. This chapters goal is to examine the approaches these two categories engage,
in an effort to understand the insights they can provide analysts and practitioners of diplomacy.


Military diplomacy has grown in prominence as a strategy in response to the changing strategic
environment and the evolving remit of militaries in the post-Cold War era. It involves the
peacetime cooperative use of military assets and resources as a means of a countrys foreign
and security policy. Its goals are both conservative or pragmatic, such as building capacity and
interoperability and enhancing mutual understanding among countries and their militaries, and
transformative, such as resolving conflicts and developing democratically accountable armed
forces. While its rise has been encouraging, its contributions to enhancing military transpar-
ency and strategic trust among states have at best been mixed.



Ecosystems transcend geopolitical boundaries and hence diplomacy has been essential to
manage environmental resources most efficiently and effectively. However, environmental
diplomacy, as a term and concept has evolved to encompass not only interactions on natural
resource governance between nation-states but conflict resolution and peace-building around
the environment more broadly. This chapter situates environmental diplomacy within the
broader context of conflict resolution, consensus-building and peace-building. We also investi-
gate the tools being used to improve the efficiency of environmental diplomatic negotiation and
processes, such as mediated modeling and GIS technology, and the role science can play as an
arbitrator for environmental diplomacy while recognizing that scientific knowledge can also be
socially and politically constructed by stakeholders. Our chapter suggests that environmental
diplomacy transcends conventional notions of Westphalian inter-state dynamics and also

operates in a parallel community-driven field of human endeavor. While international relations

remain the dominant arena for environmental diplomacy, grassroots environmentalism has also
necessitated that community-based conflict resolution also be encompassed by such an
ecological worldview.


Compared to some of the major problems in twenty-first-century international relations

terrorism, poverty and climate change, to name but a few sports diplomacy is a positive
phenomenon that should be encouraged. However, in the modern diplomatic environment it is
often oversimplified either as a remedy for the worlds problems or derided as a gimmick, an
accoutrement that only rich states can afford in these austere times. Such opinion is parochial
and unhelpful. This chapter argues that to realise the potential of sport as a diplomatic tool it
is necessary to map the relationship between states, sport and international relations. From this
survey it introduces and critiques two categories of sports diplomacy: the traditional (version
1.0) and a new networked form (version 2.0). As a result, the landscape of sports diplomacy
becomes clearer, as do certain pitfalls and limitations of using sport as a tool for overcoming
and mediating separation between states. In this chapter, opportunities for cooperation
between theorists and practitioners are generated, and research gaps in the sports diplomacy
identified. By mapping and re-imagining the relationship between sport, international rela-
tions and diplomacy, it then becomes conceivable that sports diplomacy could become a major
soft power tool.


Science diplomacy is a critically important but under-resourced, under-utilized instrument of

international policy. Since the end of the Cold War, science diplomacy, and collaborative pro-
grams in the area of international science, technology and innovation more generally, have been
marginalized and replaced by a preference on the part of governments for the use of armed
force. Militarizing international policy and privileging defence over diplomacy and develop-
ment have proven costly; there are no military solutions to the complex transnational issues
which imperil the planet. Science diplomacy offers a better way forward, especially if it regains
its former standing as a soft power tool of public diplomacy. This chapter provides a critical
introduction to the relationship between science, technology, diplomacy and international
policy and examines the prospects for improving science diplomacy.


Despite broadened and still broadening understandings of diplomacy in recent decades, as well
as of the range of actors and sum of practices it connotes, relatively little attention has been
paid to historic and contemporary diplomacies of Indigenous peoples. At the same time, impor-
tant developments in Indigenous-state relations, in hegemonic fora of global governance
List of Abstracts xxv

concerned with Indigenous issues, and in the rise of global indigenism characterized by,
among other things, a complex network of networks through which Indigenous peoples interact
and coordinate globally have become increasingly prominent. Notwithstanding oft times
considerable resistance from sovereign power, Indigenous peoples global political subject-
hood has grown in visibility and in applied efficacy with respect to a wide range of political
projects. These developments have not escaped the notice of states, even if students and schol-
ars of diplomacy have been slow to take note. This chapter takes Indigenous peoples unique
and varied traditions of diplomatic practice seriously as well-functioning diplomacies which,
though qualitatively different in many cases from even the more novel preoccupations of dip-
lomatic studies, have nevertheless underwritten the provision of political order and have
worked to sustain relations and exchange between peoples in myriad contexts across time and
space. It also offers the important cautions that these distinct traditions are not reducible to one
another or to some aggregate form and that care must be taken, so far as it is possible to do so
without relevant competencies, to engage them on their own terms rather than those of hegem-
onic imagining.


Pariahs are actors whose rogue behavior constitutes a source of disorder in international soci-
ety. Precisely because pariahood is a subjective mode of conduct, it requires diplomatic tools
and methods to articulate its grievances, aims, and interests, and to negotiate the terms of
coexistence with others in international society. Such practice is routine by both the great
powers and states at the periphery of world politics. Pariah diplomacy testifies to the methods
by which extra-legal and disorderly conduct whether by members of the international society
or those standing outside of it are justified or impressed upon other diplomatic actors in
international politics.
List of Figures, Tables and Boxes


38.1 Conceptual overview 478

45.1 The trinity in economic diplomacy 556
46.1 Business diplomacy and its related concepts 568
49.1 Anatomy of environmental conflicts and concomitant
opportunities for diplomacy 603


4.1 Five perspectives on statecraft, strategy and diplomacy 55

12.1 Embassy functions: past, present and anticipated 157
17.1 Conflict outcomes over time, 19462009 208
24.1 Selected small states in the UN: economic capacity and size of mission 300
24.2 Selected small states in the EU: economic capacity, size of
foreign service and EU delegation 303
35.1 Summary of the stages in public diplomacy 439
38.1 Comparing diplomacy, coercion and war 477
49.1 Consensus catalysis by environmental planners 611


38.1 Schellings five conditions for coercive (compellence) success 479

38.2 George and Simons coercive diplomacy framework 480
38.3 Jakobsens ideal policy481
38.4 Jentleson and Whytocks coercive diplomacy framework 482
Notes on the Editors


Costas M. Constantinouis Professor of International Relations at the University of Cyprus.

He also taught at the Universities of Lancaster, Hull and Keele and as visiting scholar at the
Taras Schevchenko and Middle East Technical Universities. He specializes in diplomacy, con-
flict, international theory and legal and normative aspects of international relations. He has
taught academic courses on diplomacy, organized training courses for new diplomats, and
published numerous books and articles, including On the Way to Diplomacy (Minnesota Uni-
versity Press, 1996), States of Political Discourse (Routledge, 2004) and Sustainable Diploma-
cies (co-edited with J. Der Derian, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

Pauline Kerr is Emeritus Fellow in the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy (APCD) at the
Australian National University. She teaches courses in the APCDs Master of Diplomacy pro-
gramme and her research focuses on theories and practices of diplomacy, both ancient and
contemporary. Her recent publications include Diplomacy in a Globalizing World: Theories
and Practices (co-edited with Geoffrey Wiseman, Oxford University Press, 2013. Second edi-
tion forthcoming 2016.); and Chinas New Diplomacy: Tactical or Fundamental Change?
(edited with Stuart Harris and Qin Yaqing, Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2008).

Paul Sharpis Professor and Head of Political Science at the University of Minnesota Duluth
and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael.
He was formerly Department Head, Director of International Studies and Director of the
Alworth Institute, as well as founding chair of the Diplomatic Studies and English School sec-
tions of the International Studies Association. His recent books include American Diplomacy
(co-edited with Geoffrey Wiseman, Brill, 2012), and Diplomatic Theory of International Rela-
tions (Cambridge University Press, 2009).


Michele Acutois Research Director in the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering

and Public Policy (STEaPP) at University College London, where he is also Associate Profes-
sor in Global Networks & Diplomacy, and Director of the UCL City Leadership Initiative, a
joint project of UCL, World Bank and UN-Habitat. He is also a fellow of the Programme for
the Future of Cities at the University of Oxford, expert advisor on city diplomacy for the World

Health Organization, a senior fellow of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and author of
The Urban Link (Routledge, 2013).

Rebecca Adler-Nissen is Associate Professor and Research Coordinator in the Institut for
Statskundskab at the University of Copenhagen. Her research focuses on International Rela-
tions theory (especially international political sociology, stigma, status, norms and the practice
turn), diplomacy, sovereignty and European integration, as well as fieldwork, participant obser-
vation and anthropological methods in IR. She has authored several books including the prize-
winning Opting out of the European Union: Diplomacy, Sovereignty and European Integration
(Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Karin Aggestamis Professor of Political Science, honorary Professor at University of Queens-

land and former Director of Peace and Conflict Studies at Lund University. Her research inter-
ests include conflict analysis, diplomacy, peacebuilding, gender, negotiation/mediation and the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She has authored and edited numerous international journal articles
and seven books, including the recent volume Rethinking Peacebuilding (Routledge, 2013/2014).

Saleem H. Ali is Director of the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) and
Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia. He
is also Adjunct Professor of Environmental Planning at the University of Vermont in the USA.
Professor Alis research focuses on environmental conflicts in the extractive industries and how
ecological cooperation can promote peace in international relations. He is the author of three
sole-authored books including Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future
(published by Yale University Press), and Environmental Diplomacy (with Lawrence Susskind,
Oxford University Press). Professor Ali was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World
Economic Forum in 2011 and received an Emerging Explorer award from the National Geo-
graphic Society in 2010, and has since then also been a member of the IUCN World Commis-
sion on Protected Areas. He received his doctorate in Environmental Planning from MIT, a
Masters degree in Environmental Studies from Yale University and Bachelors degree in
Chemistry from Tufts University.

David Armstrongis Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the University of Exeter.

He was founder-editor of the journal Diplomacy and Statecraft and his books include Revolu-
tionary Diplomacy: the United Front Doctrine and Chinese Foreign Policy (California Univer-
sity Press, 1977), Revolution and World Order (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993) and The Rise
of the International Organisation (Macmillan Press, 1982). As well as articles in journals
including International Organization, Review of International Studies, International Affairs
and Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, he has published six single and co-
edited books, most recently Civil Society and International Governance (Routledge, 2008), A
Handbook of International Law (Routledge, 2008) and Force and Legitimacy in World Politics
(Cambridge University Press, 2006) and a co-authored book, International Law and Interna-
tional Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

Edward Avenellis a Research Administrator for the Developmental Leadership Program and
the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre at the University of Birmingham.
His research interests include US Foreign Policy, USUK relations, and the ChineseUS
Notes on the Editors andContributors xxix

Alyson J.K. Bailes served as Visiting Professor at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik,
teaching on general security topics and on Nordic and European security. Alyson Bailes
former career was spent largely in the British Diplomatic Service, where her foreign postings
included Hungary, the UK delegation to NATO, Bonn, Beijing, Oslo, and finally the post of
British Ambassador at Helsinki. She published widely on issues of general security policy,
European security and defence, arms control, and Arctic and Nordic matters.

Hussein Banaiis Assistant Professor of International Studies at Indiana University, Blooming-

ton, and Research Affiliate at the Center for International Studies at MIT. He is a co-convener
of the multi-volume critical oral history project on USIran relations. The first volume in this
series, Becoming Enemies: U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-88, was published
in 2012. His broad research agenda concerns the impact of Western imperialism on the devel-
opment of diplomatic institutions in post-imperial settings, especially in Iran. Currently, he is
completing a book manuscript on the hidden but robust influence of liberalism in Irans politi-
cal development.

J. Marshall Beieris Professor in the Department of Political Science at McMaster University.

His research and teaching interests are in the areas of childhood and militarism, Indigenous
peoples global diplomacies, critical security studies, Canadian foreign policy, and postcolonial
and feminist theory. He is the author of International Relations in Uncommon Places:
Indigeneity, Cosmology, and the Limits of International Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005,
2009), editor of Indigenous Diplomacies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and The Militarization of
Childhood: Thinking Beyond the Global South (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 2013), and

co-editor with Lana Wylie of Canadian Foreign Policy in Critical Perspective (Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 2010). He has authored numerous book chapters and his articles have appeared in
Contemporary Security Policy, Critical Studies on Security, Global Governance, International
Political Sociology, International Politics, International Studies Review, Security Dialogue and
Third World Quarterly.

Craig Beyerinck holds a Master of Arts (Honours) in International Relations from the
University of St Andrews and is currently pursuing a Masters in Development Studies at the
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. His professional
experience centres on global health and he currently works at the Global Fund to Fight
AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He has previously worked at the UNAIDS Global Secre-
tariat, the UNAIDS Secretariat for Nepal and Bhutan, the Australian Institute of Interna-
tional Affairs, Local Interventions Group and the Attorney Generals Office in the Republic
of Palau. He is specifically interested in the topics of global health, LGBTI rights and

Corneliu Bjolais Associate Professor of Diplomatic Studies in the University of Oxfords

Department of International Development. Bjolas general research interests lie at the inter-
section of diplomatic studies, negotiation theory, international ethics and crisis manage-
ment. His current research focuses on the structural and normative conditions by which
digital technologies inform, regulate and constrain foreign policy. He has authored or edited
five books, including the recent co-edited volumes on Secret Diplomacy: Concepts, C ontexts
and Cases (Routledge, 2016) and Digital Diplomacy: Theory and Practice (Routledge,
2015). Bjola is also Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

Sean W. Burges is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the College of Arts and
Social Sciences and Deputy Director of the Australian National Centre for Latin American
Studies at the Australian National University. His research focuses on Brazilian foreign policy,
inter-American affairs and emerging market countries (BRICs) in world affairs, with special
reference to trade and foreign aid. Burges is author of two single-author books and over twenty
peer-reviewed articles and chapters on Brazilian foreign policy and inter-American affairs.

Stephen Calleyais the Director of the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC),
and Professor in International Relations at the University of Malta. As well as being an advisor
to Maltas Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he is the author of Security Challenges in the Euro-Med
Area in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2013) and has published several articles on Mediterranean
affairs in international journals including in Mediterranean Quarterly, Duke University Press.

Fabrcio H. Chagas Bastosis an Assistant Professor in International Relations at the Political

Science Department at the Universidad de Los Andes (Bogot) and a Research Associate of
the Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies at the Australian National Univer-
sity, and an Associate Research Fellow at the International Relations Research Centre (NUPRI)
at the University of Sao Paulo. His research concerns the global insertion of Latin America
countries in contemporary international systems, especially Brazil and Mexico.

Stephen Chan is Professor of World Politics at SOAS University of London. His research
focuses on the international politics of Southern Africa. Chan was an international civil servant
involved with several key diplomatic initiatives in Africa, helping to pioneer modern electoral
observation, and continues to be seconded to diplomatic assignments today.

Zhimin Chenis the Dean of the School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan
University, Shanghai, China. He is a Professor of International Relations and a Jean Monnet
Chair of European foreign policy. He is vice president of the Chinese Association of Interna-
tional Studies. His research interests include international relations theory, diplomacy studies,
Chinese foreign policy and EU studies. His major publications include: China, the United States
and Europe: Cooperation and Competition in a New Trilateral Relation (2011, first author);
Contemporary Diplomacy (2008, first author); Foreign Policy Integration in European Union: A
Mission Impossible? (2003, first author); Subnational Governments and Foreign Affairs (2001).

W. David Clintonis Professor of Political Science at Baylor University, Texas, USA. He stud-
ies International Relations theory, American foreign policy, the art and practice of diplomacy,
and ethics and international relations.

Melissa Conley Tylerwas appointed National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of
International Affairs in 2006. She was previously Program Manager of the International Con-
flict Resolution Centre at the University of Melbourne and Senior Fellow of Melbourne Law
School. She is a lawyer and specialist in conflict resolution, including negotiation, mediation
and peace education. She is a lawyer with an international profile in conflict resolution includ-
ing membership of the Editorial Board of the Conflict Resolution Quarterly. During her time
with the AIIA, she has edited more than 40 publications, organized more than 60 policy events,
overseen dramatic growth in youth engagement and built stronger relations with other institutes
of international affairs worldwide. She is listed in Routledges Whos Who in International
Affairs and International Whos Who of Women.
Notes on the Editors andContributors xxxi

Daryl Copelandis an educator, analyst, consultant and former Canadian diplomat. He is the
author of Guerrilla Diplomacy: Rethinking International Relations, a Research Fellow at the
Canadian Global Affairs Institute and a Policy Fellow at the University of Montreals Centre
for International Studies and Research (CERIUM). Mr Copeland specializes in the role of sci-
ence and technology in diplomacy, international policy, global issues and public management.
He is Visiting Professor at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, and has taught at the University
of Torontos Munk School of Global Affairs, the University of Ottawas Graduate School of
Public and International Affairs, the London Academy of Diplomacy (University of East
Anglia), Otago University (NZ) and the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (Malay-
sia). In 2009 he was a Research Fellow at the University of Southern Californias Center on
Public Diplomacy. Mr Copeland is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Place Brand-
ing and Public Diplomacy, and sits on the International Advisory board of the Canadian For-
eign Policy Journal. During his 30 year career in the Canadian foreign service, he served
abroad in Thailand, Ethiopia, New Zealand and Malaysia, and at headquarters in Ottawa as
Senior Intelligence Analyst, South, Central and Southeast Asia; Director of Communications
Services, Director for Southeast Asia, and as Senior Advisor: Public Diplomacy; Strategic
Policy and Planning. From 1995 to 1999 he was seconded to the Canadian Institute of Interna-
tional Affairs in Toronto as National Program Director and Editor of Behind the Headlines. He
has published over 175 articles in the popular and scholarly press.

No Cornagois Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of the Basque

Country in Bilbao, Spain, where he is also in charge of the Graduate Programme in Interna-
tional Studies. His research interests are focused on the transformations of diplomacy, global
regulation, critical sociology of knowledge, post-development and aesthetics and politics. He
has held diverse visiting positions at Ohio State University, Sciences Po Bordeaux and Univer-
sity of Idaho, and was the Basque Visiting Fellow (201112) at St. Antonys College, Univer-
sity of Oxford. He is the author of Plural Diplomacies: Normative Predicaments and
Functional Imperatives (Brill, 2013).

Jason Dittmeris Professor of Political Geography at University College London. His research
focuses on three key areas: geopolitics, critical approaches to diplomacy and geographies of
media, especially comic books. His recent books include Geopolitics: An introductory reader
(Routledge, 2014).

David Hastings Dunnis Professor in International Politics and Head of the Department of
Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research inter-
ests are diverse and have evolved and broadened over his career. They fit largely within the
areas of US Foreign and Security Policy, Strategic and Security Studies and Diplomacy and

Ana Mar Fernndez Pasarnis an Associate Professor in Politics and Public Administration
at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and an Associate Researcher at Sciences Po Paris
(Observatory of European Institutions). Her main research areas are European institutional
dynamics, with specific reference to the EU presidential system and comitology procedures,
and consular diplomacy. She has co-edited Consular Affairs and Diplomacy (Brill, 2011) and
published articles in European Foreign Affairs Review and The Hague Journal of Diplomacy.
She is a member of the scientific team of the Observatory of European Institutions (OIE) of
Sciences Po Paris and the scientific coordinator of the EUGOV Consolidated Research Group.

Linda S. Frey,Professor of history, University of Montana and Marsha L. Frey, Professor of

history, Kansas State University have specialized in the history of international relations and the
development of international law. They have written in tandem The History of Diplomatic
Immunity; Proven Patriots: The French Diplomatic Corps, 17891799; The French Revolu-
tion; Friedrich I; and edited The Treaties of the War of the Spanish Succession and Daily Lives
of Civilians in Wartime Europe, 16181900 among others. The Earhart Foundation, the National
Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, the Newberry Library
and the Folger Shakespeare Library, to name but a few, have generously funded their work.
They are currently completing a monograph on the culture of French revolutionary diplomacy.

Eytan Gilboa is Professor of International Communication and Director of the Center for
International Communication at Bar-Ilan University. He is also a visiting Professor of public
diplomacy at the University of Southern California. He has written several books and numerous
articles and book chapters on media diplomacy, public diplomacy, media and international
conflict, and the CNN effect. He received his MA and PhD degrees from Harvard University,
and has been a visiting Professor in leading American and European universities. He has won
several prestigious international awards.

Alan K. Henriksonis the Lee E. Dirks Professor of Diplomatic History and Director of Dip-
lomatic Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA. He has
taught the history of the foreign relations of the United States, USEuropean relations, political
geography, and the theory and practice of diplomacy. He was Fulbright-Schuman Professor at
the College of Europe in Bruges and served earlier as Fulbright Professor at the Diplomatische
Akademie in Vienna. He has also lectured at the Estonian School of Diplomacy, University of
Pretoria, China Foreign Affairs University, US Department of State and the National Institute of
Defence Studies in Japan. His writings in the field of diplomacy include Diplomacys Possible
Futures in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy (2006) and Negotiating World Order: The Arti-
sanship and Architecture of Global Diplomacy (Scholarly Resources, 1986) of which he was

Brian Hockingis Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Loughborough University

and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague, where he is
involved in various projects relating to contemporary diplomacy currently, on digital diplo-
macy and has produced a report co-authored with Jan Melissen: Diplomacy in the Digital Age
(Clingendael Institute, 2015). He currently teaches a course on diplomacy at the College of
Europe in Bruges and was an associate editor of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy from 2005
to 2016. His research interests focus on the evolution and changing nature of foreign policy
and diplomacy.

Ellen Huijghconducts research on public diplomacy, including its domestic dimension, at the
Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael (since 2008) and the University
of Antwerp (since 2010). She was also a Research Fellow at the University of Southern
Californias Center on Public Diplomacy, working on emerging powers public diplomacy
(20132015). She is currently conducting research in Beijing. Huijgh was also a Resident
Visiting Fellow at Carleton University in Ottawa (20072012) and the Centre for Strategic and
International Studies in Jakarta (2012). She has provided government consultancy and diplo-
matic training to several (sub)national governments, and has written widely in academic jour-
nals and book chapters, including as lead author of an annotated bibliography of public
Notes on the Editors andContributors xxxiii

diplomacy literature (Oxford University Press, 2013), and as guest editor of a special issue of
The Hague Journal of Diplomacy on public diplomacys domestic dimension (2012).

Asteris Huliaras is Professor in the Department of Political Science and International

Relations at the University of the Peloponnese, Greece, and holder of the Jean Monnet Chair
in EU Relations with Less Developed Countries. He specializes in NorthSouth relations,
international development assistance, African politics and foreign policy analysis. He has
participated in EU and UN missions in several African countries. He has published ininter
national academic journals including African Affairs and the Journal of Modern

Peter Viggo Jakobsen is Associate Professor at the Institute for Strategy, Royal Danish
Defence College, and Professor (part time) at the Center for War Studies, University of South-
ern Denmark. He is a former head of the Department of Conflict and Security Studies and
director of The Defence and Security Studies Research Programme at the Danish Institute for
International Studies (DIIS), and former Associate Professor in the Department of Political
Science, University of Copenhagen. He is frequently used by the Danish and international
media as a commentator on defence and security issues, gives many lectures on these issues
and has acted as an advisor and consultant for several governments and international organiza-
tions. He has written extensively on civilmilitary cooperation and the integrated approach,
coercive diplomacy, Danish and Nordic foreign and security policy, NATO, peace and stabiliza-
tion operations, and use of military force.

Alan James spent two years in the British Civil Service, taught at the London School of
Economics from 1957 to 1973, and was Professor of International Relations at Keele Univer-
sity, UK, from 1974 to 1998. With G.R.Berridge he co-authored the first and second editions
of A Dictionary of Diplomacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001 and 2003).

Christer Jnssonis Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden and a
member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. His main research interests are interna-
tional negotiation and diplomacy, international organization and transnational relations. His
publications include Communication in International Bargaining (1990, Pinter), Essence of
Diplomacy (co-author 2005, Palgrave), Transnational Actors in Global Governance (co-editor
2010, Palgrave) and The Opening Up of International Organizations (co-author 2013,
Cambridge University Press) along with several articles in leading academic journals. He is a
contributor to the Routledge Handbook of Diplomacy and Statecraft (2012).

Yolanda Kemp Spiesis a research associate of the SARCHI Chair in African Diplomacy
and Foreign Policy at the University of Johannesburg. She trained as diplomat at the South
African foreign ministry and at Oxford University, and practiced diplomacy for 18 years,
living and working on four continents before she joined academia. Her doctoral studies on
diplomatic training for developing countries, completed in 2005, resulted in her designing
and presenting training for diplomats from various African countries. As senior lecturer at
the University of Pretoria, from 2008 to 2016, she taught International Relations and devel-
oped a customised Master of Diplomatic Studies programme, a programme she also directed.
Her areas of a cademic specialisation include diplomacy, international ethics, foreign policy
analysis, international organisation, conflict resolution in Africa, and changing global power

Markus Kornprobstholds the Chair in International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of

Vienna. He previously taught at the School of Public Policy at University College London and
Magdalen College at Oxford University. He held research fellowships at the Mershon Center
at the Ohio State University, and the Department of Politics and International Relations at
Oxford University. His research appears in leading journals in the discipline such as Inter
national Organization, European Journal of International Relations, International Studies
Review, Review of International Studies and Millennium. He is the author of Irredentism in
European Politics (2008, Cambridge University Press), co-author of Understanding Interna-
tional Diplomacy (2013, Routledge), as well as co-editor of Metaphors of Globalization (2008,
Palgrave) and Arguing Global Governance (2011, Routledge).

Halvard Leirais currently senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
(NUPI). Leira has published extensively in English and Norwegian on international political
thought, historiography, foreign policy and diplomacy. His work has appeared in e.g. Review
of International Studies, Millennium, Leiden Journal of International Law, International Stud-
ies Perspectives, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Global Society and Cooperation and Con-
flict. Leira has been co-editor of the Sage Library of International Relations sets International
Diplomacy (2013) and History of International Relations (2015). He is currently chair of the
Historical International Relations Section of the International Studies Association.

Richard Lock-Pullanis Senior Lecturer in International Politics in the Department of Political

Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham. He is interested in
twentieth-century international history and teaches and researches on traditional security and
strategic issues. He is currently working on issues of religion and politics.

Konstantinos Magliverasis Professor of the Law of International Organizations at the Uni-

versity of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece. His teaching and research interests cover Public Inter-
national Law (with an emphasis on International Criminal Law), European Union Law,
International and Regional Protection of Human Rights, Transnational Migration and Human
Trafficking. He also has a strong interest in African legal affairs and multilateral institutions.
His publications include K. Magliveras and G. Naldi, The African Union: Institutions and
Activities (2014).

William Maleyis Professor of Diplomacy, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, The Australian

National University. He is author of Rescuing Afghanistan (2006) and The Afghanistan Wars
(2009) and co-editor of Global Governance and Diplomacy: Worlds Apart? (2008) and Theo-
rising the Responsibility to Protect (2015).

Fiona McConnellis Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Oxfords

School of Geography and the Environment. As a political geographer Fionas research aims to
develop new areas of thinking regarding governance beyond the state and different modes of
political legitimacy. In particular, she is interested in how communities officially excluded from
formal state politics are nevertheless engaging with aspects of statecraft, and in using such
seemingly anomalous cases as a lens to critically examine the norms of governance. With
Jason Dittmer, she is the co-editor of Diplomatic Cultures and International Politics: Transla-
tions, Spaces and Alternatives (Routledge, 2016).

Paul Meerts is Senior Research Associate and former Deputy Director of the Netherlands
Institute of International Relations Clingendael in The Hague. He is also Visiting Professor
Notes on the Editors andContributors xxxv

at the College of Europe in Bruges and Member of the Steering Committee of the Processes of
International Negotiation (PIN) programme.

Stuart Murrayis a Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Diplomacy at Bond Univer-
sity, Australia, a Global Fellow at the Academy of Sport, Edinburgh University, and Associate
Editor of the academic journal Diplomacy and Foreign Policy (Brill). Alongside reflections on
traditional diplomacy, he has extensively published on new forms of international dialogue and
exchange such as sports, digital and secret diplomacy.

Cornelia Navariis Visiting Professor of International Affairs at the University of Buckingham,

UK, and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham. Her publications include
Internationalism and the State in the 20th Century (2000), Theorising International Society
(2009) and Guide to the English School in International Studies, edited with Daniel Green
(2014). Fundamental Institutions and International Organizations, edited with Tonny Brems
Knudsen is forthcoming from Macmillan.

Iver B. Neumannis the Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at the London
School of Economics and Political Science and a lifelong associate of the Norwegian Institute
of International Affairs. His research focuses on Public Administration, in Russia and Scandi-
navia in particular. He has published widely on diplomacy, inter alia, At Home with the Diplo-
mats (2011) and Diplomatic Sites (2012).

Donna Marie Oglesbyhas spent nearly three decades as an American diplomat, learning four
languages to serve in American embassies in Latin America, Europe and Asia. She also held
senior headquarter positions, including Director of Latin American Affairs, Director of the Presi-
dential Youth Exchange Initiative and, finally, Counselor of Agency (USIA), the ranking career
position. On retirement from the United States Foreign Service, she came to Eckerd College as
Diplomat in Residence to resume an academic journey. As a member of the Public Diplomacy
Council, she devotes her teaching and writing to spanning the boundary between practitioners
of statecraft and scholars of the art. She recently concluded extensive research comparing how
diplomats and academics teach diplomacy in the United States. The SAIS Review, The Center
for Public Diplomacy (CPD) and the Foreign Service Journal have published her earlier work.

Maaike Okano-Heijmansis a senior research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Interna-
tional Relations Clingendael in The Hague and a visiting lecturer at the University of Leiden.
Her research interests are in economic diplomacy and international relations in East Asia and
in consular affairs and diplomacy. She is the author of Economic Diplomacy: Japan and the
Balance of National Interests (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2013). Her work has been pub-
lished/translated in Dutch, English, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.

Sam Okoth Opondo is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Vassar College, NY. His
research is guided by an interest in colonialism, race and the mediation of estrangement. With
an emphasis on violence, ethics and diplomacies of everyday life, he engages the problematics
of humanitarianism, the politics of redemption and the popular culture in urban Africa. He
teaches courses on comparative politics, settler colonialism, postcolonial diplomatic cultures
and African cities.

Kishan S. Rana was Indias Ambassador/High Commissioner to Algeria, Czechoslovakia,

Kenya, Mauritius and Germany, and was on the staff of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in

198182. He currently holds positions as Professor Emeritus of DiploFoundation, Malta and

Geneva and is an Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. His books include
Bilateral Diplomacy (2002), Asian Diplomacy (2007), Diplomacy of the 21st Century (2011),
The Contemporary Embassy (2013) and Diplomacy at the Cutting Edge (2015). His teaching
and research include economic and public diplomacy, and also comparative study of diplomacy
practices in the Global South.

Huub Rulis Professor of International Business at Windesheim University of Applied Sci-

ences (The Netherlands) and affiliated with the University of Twente (The Netherlands). He
studied Psychology and European Studies, and holds a PhD in Business Administration from
the University of Twente (The Netherlands). His research focuses on commercial diplomacy
and business diplomacy.

Michael Smithis Professor in European Politics at the University of Warwick, and Emeritus
Professor of European Politics at Loughborough University. His key areas of research are
European Union external relations and the development of the EUs system of diplomacy, and
Relations between the European Union and the United States, both in terms of their historical
development and in terms of current policy issues. He is the co-editor of International Rela-
tions and the European Union (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Stephan Stetteris Professor of Global Politics and Conflict Studies at the University of the
Bundeswehr Munich, Germany/EU. His research focuses on the Middle East and on global
social theory. He is an editor of the leading German-language International Relations journal,
the Zeitschrift fr Internationale Beziehungen (ZIB).

See Seng Tanis Professor of International Relations at the S. Rajaratnam School of Interna-
tional Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. A student of Asian security, his most
recent books include Multilateral Asian Security Architecture: Non-ASEAN Stakeholders
(Routledge, 2015) and The Making of the Asia Pacific: Knowledge Brokers and the Politics of
Representation (Amsterdam University Press, 2013).

Baldur Thorhallssonis Head and Professor at the Faculty of Political Science at the Univer-
sity of Iceland. He is also Jean Monnet Chair in European Studies and Programme and
Research Director at the Centre for Small States at the University. His research focus is primar-
ily on small state studies, European integration and Icelands foreign policy. He has published
extensively in international journals and contributed to several academic books. He has written
two books on small states in Europe: Iceland and European Integration: On the Edge and The
Role of Small States in the European Union.

Helena Voinov Vladichis a senior scientist at the Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne
(EPFL), Switzerland. She works on Systems Analysis, Geospatial tools, and a concept of
Ecosystem Services for the Natural Capital assessment and environment decision making in
the regional context. She earned her doctorate at the University of Vermont, Rubinstein
School of Environment and Natural Resources and her MS in Automatic Control Systems
from the Department of Applied Mathematics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology,
specializing in the modelling of ecological-economic systems. She is a fellow of the Institute
for Environmental Diplomacy and Security, James M. Jeffords Center, University of
Vermont, USA.
Notes on the Editors andContributors xxxvii

David Joseph Wellmanis an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University,

Chicago. Wellmans work focuses on the relationship between religion and diplomacy, ecologi-
cal ethics and interreligious engagement. He is the author of Sustainable Diplomacy: Ecology,
Religion and Ethics in Muslim-Christian Relations (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and
Sustainable Communities (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 2001). Wellmans writing on
diplomacy was used as the basis for an international conference, whose outcome was the col-
laborative volume Sustainable Diplomacies, edited by Costas Constantinou and James Der
Derian (Basingstroke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

Mark Wheeleris Professor of Political Communications at London Metropolitan University.

He has written four books including Celebrity Politics (Cambridge: Polity, 2013). He has pub-
lished numerous peer-reviewed articles such as Celebrity diplomacy: UN goodwill ambassa-
dors and messengers of peace, Celebrity Studies: Special Edition on Celebrity and the Global
and contributed chapters to many edited volumes.

Geoffrey Wisemanis Professor of the Practice of International Relations at the University of

Southern California. He is a former Australian diplomat, serving in three diplomatic postings
(Stockholm, Hanoi and Brussels) and as private secretary to the Foreign Minister, Gareth
Evans. He has co-edited a textbook, with Pauline Kerr, entitled Diplomacy in a Globalizing
World: Theories and Practices (Oxford University Press, 2013). His most recent book is an
edited volume Isolate or Engage: Adversarial States, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Public Diplo-
macy (Stanford University Press, 2015).

Tim Woltersis a researcher at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences and a consultant.

He holds a MSc in Business Adminstration with a focus on International Management from the
University of Twente (The Netherlands).

I. William Zartmanis the Jacob Blaustein Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International

Organization and Conflict Resolution at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International
Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC. Dr Zartman is the author of a number of
works on North Africa and he has also developed the field of negotiation analysis.

Tatiana Zonovais Professor of Comparative History and Theory of Diplomacy at MGIMO

(Moscow State University of International Relations) and RUDN (Peoples Friendship Univer-
sity of Russia). She has the diplomatic rank of the 1st class Counsellor and a Doktor nauk
(PhD) in political science. She is a member of the International Advisory Board of The Hague
Journal of Diplomacy and a member of the Scientific Council of the Rivista di Studi Politici
Internazionali (Italy).
Introduction: Understanding
Diplomatic Practice
Costas M. Constantinou, Pauline Kerr
and Paul Sharp

Welcome to The SAGE Handbook of what we progressively learn about how it was
Diplomacy. Handbooks generally aspire to practiced in the past, what global trends and
give readers a handy toolkit, a practical challenges we face in current times, and what
guide. Recalling one of the most famous hopes and aspirations we harbor for the
handbooks of diplomacy, Sir Ernest Satows future. Like Satow we aim to be useful about
A Guide to Diplomatic Practice, the aim was the ways and means of practicing diplomacy;
to offer practical utility, not only to mem- unlike Satow, however, we do not offer a
bers of the services, but also to the general single authoritative, declaratory account but
public and to writers who occupy themselves a scholarly handbook that poses questions
with international affairs (Satow 1, 1917:ix). and problematizations, and provides possible
Similarly, this Handbook aims to provide answers to them.
guidance to three audiences: (a) the profes- Preparing a handbook on diplomacy now
sional in national diplomatic services as well adays reflects a major challenge that was not
as governmental and non-governmental present during Satows times, and which lets
organizations; (b) the student and researcher us say a great deal more about diplomacy
of diplomatic and international affairs; and than Satow could. Specifically, a handbook
(c) the interested layperson who recognizes today encounters and benefits from the devel-
or suspects that diplomacy is an important opment over the last 100 years of the aca-
daily occurrence with immense consequences demic discipline of International Relations
for how we live together in a globalized and within it the rich and expanding field of
interdependent world. Mindful of the practi- Diplomatic Studies. It must therefore refer to
cal imperative then, this Handbook provides and engage this literature the accumulated
a collection of sustained reflections on what body of knowledge on diplomacy. Indeed, a
it means to practice diplomacy today given practical guide that disregards such theoretical

developments that is, the more or less sys- specific practices of diplomacy are implicated
tematic thinking aimed at understanding with colonial governance and displacements of
and explaining diplomatic practice will be indigenous diplomacy as well as pre- and sub-
broadly unreflective and have little practical state diplomacy (see Beier in this Handbook).
utility as to what works as well as how, where The Handbook suggests that both the stu-
and when it works, or doesnt work. dent and the practitioner of diplomacy ought
It is useful to remember that practice moves to remain robustly engaged with normative
on in ways that practitioners sometimes are questions. That is to say, one should, where
the first to understand and recognize, yet also scholarly research has already yielded new
sometimes dogmatically resist acknowledg- and critical knowledge, scrutinize the usage
ing for a variety of reasons. At the same time, of dominant universals, their geographical and
theory is sometimes pioneering in analyzing historical utility, and their proper or inappro-
trends or re-conceptualizing practice, yet priate use. In this respect, the Handbook exam-
sometimes only belatedly catches up on what ines the extent to which the nature of foreign
practitioners realized and routinely practiced policy has changed in response to shifts in
for some time. What is needed to redress this both international and domestic policy milieus
dissonance is quite simple and often repeated: and changes in the demarcation, including the
better cross-fertilization between theory and impossibility of demarcation, of the domes-
practice (see, among others, Brown 2012). tic and the international (see Hocking in this
The renewed interest in practice theory Handbook). It points to how the mobility
in diplomatic studies (Sending et al., 2015; of political issues from the domestic to the
Pouliot and Cornut, 2015; Wiseman, 2015) is international stage necessitates the reconsid-
a welcome development in this respect. eration of the conceptual triad of statecraft,
strategy and diplomacy, and specifically the
limits of state power and the different kinds
of actors the state needs to engage nowadays
THE PRACTICETHEORY NEXUS in order to achieve results (see Kornprobst in
this Handbook). It also suggests that atten-
The Handbooks advance of the practice tion should be paid to how diplomatic agents
theory nexus and the view that diplomatic are entangled in their everyday practice with
practice and theory are two sides of the same deeply established but also contested concep-
coin is not new (see Constantinou and Sharp in tions of representation and legitimacy (see
this Handbook). It suggests that a diplomatic Adler-Nissen in this Handbook). Furthermore,
handbook for the twenty-first century ought to the delegated authority through which diplo-
be conceptual and historical but also fully matic agency operates raises issues of ethical
global in terms of issues and scope. It needs scrutiny and accountability, and should encour-
ambitiously to engage and understand the con- age reflection-in-action [...] by which diplo-
cept of diplomacy in history, the contexts mats seek to align the practical requirements of
within which it emerges as a positive or nega- the situation at hand with the normative imper-
tive term, as well as what is at stake in atives prompted by their divided loyalties (see
demanding or claiming moves from old to Bjola in this Handbook). None of this is pos-
new diplomacy (see Leira in this Handbook). sible without coming to terms with the chang-
It also needs to appreciate the complex entan- ing currency of diplomatic norms and values.
glements of modern diplomacy with the colo- These normative aspects open up wider
nial encounter, and what forms of diplomacy it questions about the functional and symbolic
legitimated or eradicated in colonial and post- forms of diplomatic practice. For example,
colonial times (see Opondo in this Handbook). the verbal and non-verbal forms of diplomatic
It should be concerned with how historically communication need to be understood in
Introduction: Understanding Diplomatic Practice 3

their instrumentalist mode, i.e. as tools of of it appears to recede. A guide to the practice
the trade necessary for the fulfillment of of diplomacy must acknowledge this meta-
daily diplomatic functions and signaling, but theoretical lack and, at least, explore the pos-
also in their constitutive mode, producing sibility that it is not necessarily a matter for
meaning and enacting the diplomatic worlds regret, quite the reverse.
within which actors operate (see Jnsson in This resistance to meta-theorizing with
this Handbook). Similarly, with the notion of its associated sense of fragmentation and
diplomatic culture we encounter the technical, pulling apart is reflected in both the general
professional culture of the diplomatic corps organization of the Handbook and in some of
but also the wider notion of the diplomatic its individual chapters. Part I focuses on con-
community beyond state officials and thus cepts and theories of diplomacy, followed by
the pluralization of diplomatic cultures Parts II, III and IV on diplomatic institutions,
that are linked to everyday mediations and diplomatic relations and, finally, types of
conflict resolutions (see the chapters of diplomatic engagement. One might expect,
McConnell and Dittmer, and Sharp and therefore, a rather stately progress from the
Wiseman in this Handbook). Moreover, art orthodoxies of the past when aristocrats and
is often used instrumentally in diplomacy to professionals managed the relations of sov-
project the representation of polity or policy, ereign states, through the excitements and
but such representations as well as counter- disappointments of the new diplomacy and
representations by artists have legitimacy conference diplomacy of 1919 onwards (see
effects that need to be understood and taken Meerts in this Handbook), up to a present in
on board by practitioners (see Neumann in which economics, terrorism, social media-
this Handbook). tion, and a host of other usual suspects,
To support a better understanding of this as Captain Louis Renault might term them,
practicetheory nexus, this collection seeks to conspire to subvert, obscure, and transform
present the latest theoretical inquiry into the the perceived orthodoxies of diplomacy. This
practice of diplomacy in a way which is acces- happens to some extent, but more in individ-
sible to students and practitioners of diplomacy ual chapters than in the collection as whole.
alike as well as the interested general reader. Taken in the round, the collection often
That said, the readers of this Handbook will presents a series of surprising and suggestive
note that there are different views about the juxtapositions. Thus, for example, a chap-
status of theory within Diplomatic Studies that ter on what it means for states to be in dip-
are reflected in various chapters. Diplomacys lomatic relations an utterly orthodox, yet
resistance to being theorized (Wight, 1960; surprisingly ignored aspect of diplomacy to
Der Derian, 1987) is no longer a tenable date (James in this Handbook) rubs shoul-
proposition (see Constantinou and Sharp in ders with an essay on pariah diplomacy, i.e.
this Handbook). There are plenty of theories the methods by which extra-legal and dis-
of diplomacy. What remains conspicuous by orderly conduct are justified or impressed
its absence, however, is any meta-theory of upon other sovereign entities in international
diplomacy a theory of the theories of diplo- politics (Banai in this Handbook). There are
macy which might present all the different chapters on key institutions, such as on the
things that people want to identify and discuss diplomatic and consular missions (Rana and
in a single set of coherent relations with one Pasarin), international law (Clinton), diplo-
another. The more people become interested matic immunity (Frey and Frey), negotiation
in practicing and theorizing diplomacy and (Zartman), mediation (Aggestam), summitry
the more the hubris of grand theorizing is (Dunn and Lock-Pullan), and diplomatic
revealed and taken to task, the more the pros- language (Oglesby). There are regional, subre-
pect for any such overarching general account gional, and single country perspectives, where

diplomatic relations are analyzed with regard exclusively by the accredited representatives
to what theories and concepts the specific of sovereign states, then much of what is called
authors assessed as pertinent to their case. diplomacy today and is presented as such in
Specifically, the Handbook examines the this collection will appear to be mislabelled.
European Union and its hybrid system of dip- If, on the other hand, one has an open concep-
lomatic representation and action (Smith in tion of diplomacy as ways of conducting rela-
this Handbook); the revolutionary legacy and tions, or is content to accept as such whatever
changes in American diplomacy (Henrikson other people present as being diplomacy, then
in this Handbook); the changing policy and diplomacy and diplomats remain blurry
discursive shifts in Russian post-Soviet diplo- and indistinct. This is particularly the case
macy (Zonova in this Handbook); the mod- with studies focused on elaborating the con-
ernization of Chinese diplomacy and its shift texts in which diplomacy is undertaken.
to more proactive foreign policy (Chen in this
Handbook); the surprising deficit of stud-
ies on diplomacy in East Asia as well as the
near absence of anything that might be called THE MEANING OF DIPLOMACY:
regional diplomacy (Kerr in this Handbook) SINGLE OR PLURAL?
at least compared to the EU region of Europe
(see Smith in this Handbook) and even com- Such elaborations on contexts are necessary,
pared to the regional adherence to the concert- especially in a time which people character-
acin approach to diplomatic management ize as one of change and innovation. The
in Latin America (Burges and Bastos in this danger, however, is that they stop short of
Handbook); and how colonial and postcolo- discussing diplomacy as such, or what it
nial environments shaped Middle East diplo- means to be diplomatic. The question why
macy (Stetter in this Handbook), African and how do we come to call this diplomacy
diplomacy (Huliaras and Magliveras in this or diplomatic? remains a powerful one,
Handbook), and Southern African diplo- although not as an attempt to discipline
macy (Chan in this Handbook). In short, the departures back into line from an orthodox or
Handbook has a global outlook but there is no classical standpoint. It is an open question
single theoretical perspective from which to which admits of multiple answers, but it does
view and order the knowledge of diplomatic ask that people attempt to answer it.
institutions or through which to explain his- Indeed, it is a useful exercise to canvass
torical and current diplomatic relations in their how this open question might be answered
entirety. There are often common understand- even when people call something diplomacy
ings about the value of diplomatic institutions or name someone an ambassador, catachresti-
or the forms of diplomatic relations, but there cally or unprofessionally. Considering how
is also a prioritization of different levels and such terms feed into everyday reality and think-
units of analysis by different authors. ing, literal or metaphorical, is quite crucial for
Conventional scientific and social scientific fully appreciating the conceptual richness of
approaches concerned with rigor in method, diplomacy as well as its practical applications
coherence in conceptualization, and cumula- in social life (Constantinou, 1996). This is for
tion in the production of knowledge, suggest two reasons. First, concepts carry within them
that resistance to meta-theorizing should be and often begin themselves as metaphors
regarded as a problem. People interested in words carrying meaning from one context to
diplomacy, however, seem less concerned. To another. Concepts then get modified through
be sure, a more relaxed approach courts certain consciously literal but also consciously and
dangers. If one insists that diplomacy should unconsciously metaphorical use (Derrida,
be properly regarded as a practice performed 1982: 25871). One can be sympathetic to
Introduction: Understanding Diplomatic Practice 5

the critique of conceptual overstretching, the language gaming or trope, just as it may be
private and excessive broadening of a concept expressive and symptomatic of a major politi-
just in order to prove a scholars latest theory cal claim or power context or representation
or idea. But it is difficult to be sympathetic to anxiety.
approaches that essentialize and police con- On the whole, the difficulties created by a
cepts, striving to prove conceptual purity and relaxed approach to defining diplomacy and
extricate historical interbreeding and the inev- establishing the boundaries of what can prop-
itable hybridization of ideas. In both, the quest erly be regarded as such are far outweighed
for a fake clarity can shade over into a quest by the advantages. This is certainly the
for control which is all too real. It is reminis- shared position of the editors for this project.
cent of an age where religion could only be Certainly, each of us had our preferences in
defined by the church and the priest, meaning the sense of wishing that more attention be
in effect that the differing religious and spiri- given to one aspect of diplomacy and less to
tual ideas of people and their forms of expres- another more on state practices, more on
sion were denied any reality, and thus could transformational potentials, more on real life
only figure as either mythical or heretical. diplomatic practice in concrete situations,
Second, especially for those working for example. Each of us working individu-
within a critical or constructivist mode, lin- ally might have produced a different balance
guistic uses are not just instrumental to between themes than the one which emerged
communication but enact and create the from our joint efforts.
worlds within which we live and operate. However, it is difficult to avoid the con-
The Wittgensteinian motto that to imagine a clusion that diplomacy is an inherently
language means to imagine a form of life is plural business which encourages an inher-
worth recalling here (Wittgenstein, 1958: sec- ently plural outlook on the way people see
tion 19). Words are not just passive tools but things and see things differently from one
active mobilizers of imagination. To imagine another, and to that extent how diplomatic
that one is experiencing a life in diplomacy has knowledge is crucially implicated not only
power effects and affects. Some flights into in the instrumentality of official communi-
diplomatic fantasy may be harmless and frivo- cation but also in the development of rival
lous, as when one is playing the board game perspectives over any issue (see Cornago,
Diplomacy and decides for the sake of fun 2013 and in this Handbook). A social world
to practice intrigue and coercion on a friend composed of different actors with different
as the game encourages one to do. But other interests, identities, and understandings of
flights into diplomatic fantasy may have more what the world is, how it works, and how it
serious implications, such as if one thinks that might work to the point that we may use-
the board games strategic understanding is fully talk of many worlds (Walker, 1988;
the natural way of relating to others and diplo- Agathangelou and Ling, 2009) whose rela-
macy can only be that. Moreover, it is often tionship to each other is captured by no single
missed that non-official or unauthorized use claim invites a number of responses. Which
of diplomatic discourse and terminology may differences should some effort be made to
hide wider or unresolved issues, be it claims resolve, and which should be left alone? And
to recognition or territorial sovereignty; tak- by what means should differences be resolved
ing exception to someone elses governmen- or maintained by force when there is suf-
tal jurisdiction; aspirations to fully represent ficient power, by law when there is sufficient
or rightly speak for someone or something; or agreement, and by habit and tradition when
power to negotiate or reopen negotiation or there is sufficient sense of belonging? Good
opt out of an agreement, and so on. In short, diplomacy with its emphasis on peace-
quotidian diplomatic terminology may be just ful relations, avoiding misunderstandings

and unwanted conflict, and on paying atten- Nevertheless, there are some signs that
tion to the Other offers ways of conduct- this change is beginning to happen. While
ing relations in a plural world where power, diplomatic careers have no doubt been dam-
law and community are in short supply. Even aged as a result of the diplomatic indiscre-
bad diplomacy can sometimes offer a way tions revealed by WikiLeaks, they no longer
of rubbing along together where these are produce the drastic outcome in diplomatic
absent. relations that they have produced in the past
(Satow, 1917: 375). Younger diplomats,
reflecting the outlook of their peers in soci-
ety at large, are much more likely than their
THE PRACTICE OF DIPLOMACY: elders to agree with the proposition that peo-
TRADITIONAL OR ple say all sorts of stuff. Diplomatic practice,
TRANSFORMATIONAL? therefore, might evolve in the direction of not
holding diplomats so tightly to their words
In a sense, therefore, the breadth of this col- or, perhaps, specifying when their public or
lection and the, at times, most tenuous con- revealed utterances should be taken as ex
nection between some of its constituent cathedra and when they should be regarded
elements is itself an appropriately diplomatic as harmless instances of people saying all
response to the subject matter. Two general sorts of stuff. A similar shift might take
themes emerge, nevertheless. The first is that place in attitudes towards the crisis character
in a world where power and authority seem with which contemporary international news
to be diffusing, people are looking to some- is presented by authorities and reported by
thing which they traditionally understand as, mass media, a character often amplified in the
and want to call, diplomacy as a way of con- tweeted and blogged responses within social
ducting their relations with one another. The media. Rather than trying to lower the temper-
second is that many of the contextual changes ature, diplomatic practice might seek to take
which fuel this demand for more diplomacy, the higher temperature as the normal operat-
make diplomacy at least as it has tradition- ing level and recognize that people are neither
ally been understood more difficult to as upset nor as energized as they often sound.
undertake. However, the need for diplomatic practice
There is very little desire to return to a to adjust, in some instances, to changing con-
world in which a relative handful of carefully ditions, is matched by the concomitant need of
selected, refined, low key, discreet, diplomatic the myriad of new diplomats to take on at least
guardians of the universe plied their trade, some aspects of diplomatic practice as these
secure in their shared values and respect for have evolved from what appear in the pres-
confidentiality. And even if there was such a ent to have been quieter, simpler times. The
desire, such a world is unrecoverable, not least representatives of new international actors
because of the considerable extent to which it private corporations, humanitarian organiza-
was a myth in the first place. Accordingly, the tions, and transnational political actors, for
task that confronts those theorizing and prac- example have traditionally positioned them-
ticing diplomacy today is a complex one. What selves as outsiders acting upon a world of
is required is a fundamental change in some insiders, that of the system or society of sover-
elements of diplomatic practice, but not all eign states. As a consequence, they have been
of them. The prospects for reinsulating diplo- viewed and tended to act as lobbyists, pressure
macy and diplomats from the consequences of groups, agitators, and subversives on behalf of
low cost, high content, information instantly rather narrowly defined objectives. So too at
available to the general public, for example, times have the more traditional state-based
are probably very low, at least for now. diplomats, of course. In addition, however,
Introduction: Understanding Diplomatic Practice 7

the best among the latter have had some sense need for more effective diplomacy. In his elec-
of ownership of, responsibility for, and even tion campaign for US President, Barack
affection towards the system or society which Obama called for more diplomacy and was
facilitates and makes possible their work. This rewarded with victory at the polls and a Nobel
can be seen to work at the level of what Adam Peace Prize, just one year after taking office.
Watson (1982) calls la raison de systme and However, it is perhaps worth noting two points
underpins a diplomatic theory of international about this diplomacy revival claim, for they
relations that can valorize political collabora- have a considerable bearing not only on pro-
tion and coexistence whilst accepting separa- moting a less cynical outlook on diplomatic
tion and difference (Sharp, 2009). practice but also on how the study of diplo-
As Navari (2014 and in this Handbook) macy has developed in recent years, which is
notes, within the basic structures of state- reflected in this collection.
based diplomatic practice as these have been The first point is that the claim refers to
articulated in the 1961 Vienna Convention on interest in diplomacy, not diplomacy itself.
Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Of course, diplomacy did not disappear dur-
Consular Relations, there are other rules and ing the Cold War. Even ideologically driven
conventions some more tacit and less formal and strategically minded superpowers needed
than others by which specific dmarches may diplomacy albeit diplomacy of a certain
be judged to be instances of the diplomatic kind and their diplomacy was neither so
game more or less well played. A similar sense dominant, nor as ubiquitous, as their own
of responsibility, however, can be found at the accounts of international relations at the time
individual level when people who are not only suggested. Even so, the Cold War left its mark,
radically different from one another, but who particularly on the academic study of interna-
might also have a highly problematic place for tional relations which was, and remains, heav-
each other in their respective universes, experi- ily centered on the United States. Diplomacy
ment in conflict transformation and coexistence was necessary, everyone could acknowledge.
(Constantinou, 2006). How they are to make Missing, however, among practitioners and
meaningful representations, or conduct rela- students alike, was a sense that diplomacy was
tions without conquering the other or capitulat- important to making things happen in inter-
ing to the expectations of the other, constitute national relations or understanding why they
diachronic diplomatic problems which require happened as they did. It was widely assumed
both reflection and self-reflection. that if one wanted to act internationally or
explain international actions, one should look
at structures be these constituted by the
distribution of state power, concentrations of
THE DIPLOMATIC FIELD: REVIVAL capital and production, or, more recently, the
OR EXPANSION? distribution of scientific and technical com-
petencies. More agency-focused approaches
One of our starting observations in this could not escape this structural framing,
Handbook is that it has become commonplace whether of the foreign policy bureaucracy or
to claim that interest in diplomacy is reviving. the cognitive make up of decision makers.
The end of the Cold War is often credited with And even studies of bargaining focused on the
initiating this revival, while the ongoing revo- structure of contexts in which sparsely elabo-
lution in information and communication tech- rated agents were presented as operating.
nologies (ICT) seems to be supercharging it. As may be seen in many of the Handbooks
The War on Terror threatened to put diplomacy chapters, the emphasis on structure continues
back in the deep freeze, but the foreign policy to leave its mark on both the practice and the
disasters which resulted merely underlined the study of diplomacy, as indeed it must. What

many of them also reveal, however, is the Jakobsen, Armstrong, Meerts, Acuto, Conley
shift to an emphasis on diplomatic agency, Tyler and Beyerinck, Wheeler, Gilboa, Okano-
its actions and relations and the capacities, Heijmans, Rul and Wolters, Wellman, Seng
both actual and potential, that agents have for Tan, Ali and Vladich, Murray and Copeland in
shaping international relations and, indeed, this Handbook). Other chapters in other parts
producing or enacting the structures which are equally important observation sites of
seem to exert so much influence on our sense this dynamic (for example see Spies, Navari,
of what happens and can happen. Thorhallsson and Bailes, and Calleya in Part
The form of this shift of focus draws III of this Handbook).
attention to the second point which needs Looking across this expansion of types of
to be noted about the revival of interest in diplomacy reveals that the extent of cross-
diplomacy the description of the process as a fertilization between practice and theory
revival. The implication is that there was once varies. Among the reasons for this are that
a greater interest in both the practice and the research and scholarship around a particular
study of diplomacy which went into decline type of diplomacy also varies. There is frequent
and is currently recovering to something like acknowledgment among the authors in Part
previous levels. Strictly speaking, this is not the IV, and throughout the Handbook, that more
case. Certainly, it was plausible for a relatively research and scholarly attention is needed to
small group of people in the fairly recent past better understand the practicetheory nexus
to equate what they regarded as important and there are calls for researchers to work
international relations those conducted closely with those practicing diplomacy (for
between an even smaller group of sovereign example, see Avenell and Dunn in this
states of which they were citizens and some of Handbook) to meet the practical and theoretical
them represented with diplomacy. Even so, challenges ahead.
the diplomatic histories produced between the Nonetheless the overall observation about
late eighteenth century and the mid twentieth cross-fertilizations between practice and the-
century missed a great deal of what was going ory in this Handbook is that the many gen-
on at the time. Much of what is presented eralizations, or theoretical claims based on
as diplomacy today, however, would have systematic thinking, about particular types
been unrecognizable as such to those who of diplomacy require qualifications and cave-
maintained that it consisted of the adjustment ats and are therefore bounded within tem-
of relations between sovereign states poral and spatial contexts. To illustrate the
principally through negotiations undertaken by point, digital diplomacy (see Gilboa in this
their accredited representatives. Rather than a Handbook), which is clearly one of, if not the
revival of interest in diplomacy, therefore, it is most, recent types of diplomacy being prac-
perhaps more accurate to refer to an expansion ticed, is an area of study that currently offers
of interest, and a double expansion at that. The generalizations: for example, that the recent
number of people interested in diplomacy has means of diplomatic communication, namely
expanded within and across the discipline of the ICTs and Internet, are clearly different
International Relations, and with that so too from those of the past, many more actors are
have conceptions of what people want to mean involved, digital networks are evolving; and
when they try to talk about diplomacy. that this is having an impact on diplomatic
As evidenced in Part IV of this Handbook, practice. Simultaneously, qualifications are
the typologies of diplomatic engagement have offered: for example, that much of the research
also expanded, giving us an important labora- on digital diplomacy is based on US experi-
tory for observations about the cross-fertiliza- ence, that the impact of different actors may
tion between practice and theory (see chapters well vary depending on such factors as the
by Huijgh, Maley, Avenell and Dunn, Viggo issue-area and the political system of a country,
Introduction: Understanding Diplomatic Practice 9

that traditional and new instruments of commu- be understood, but, taken together, we sug-
nication co-exist, and that the digital landscape gest that they provide the Handbook with its
is changing so rapidly that future impacts are distinctive contribution the advancement of
difficult to predict, including whether or not thought about theory and practice and the
such new technologies will change the nature relationship between them. Looking ahead, a
of diplomatic relationships and knowledge. number of challenging ontological, episte-
Rather than undermining the practicetheory mological, and practical questions arise out
nexus, such careful qualifications add to its of the Handbooks focus on theorizing and
robustness and support the point made earlier practicing diplomacy. We strongly advise
that there are many theories of diplomacy, students and professionals to pose these
albeit in various stages of maturity, and that the questions in different contexts, to make their
absence of meta-theories is far from holding own judgments, and to act upon them accord-
back our understanding of diplomacy today. ingly. For example:
In addition to being mindful of this double
expansion illustrated above and elsewhere, What does diplomacy mean, what does it mean
we as editors of the Handbook noted gaps to be diplomatic and how do the answers to
in the existing literatures on diplomacy and both questions change in different social
to engage with some of them we invited our contexts?
What are the roles of diplomacy and diplomats in
authors as experts in their specialized fields
producing, reproducing, and transforming differ-
to individually and collectively tackle spe-
ent social contexts?
cific tasks, including the following: Can the diplomatic be examined independently
of the political, the governmental, the legal, and
Offer perspectives on the past, present, and possible
the personal and what is at stake in doing or
future activities, roles, and relations between the
not doing so?
diplomatic actors of the global society specifically
How far should the diplomatic identity be
who has power/influence when, why, and how.
extended and at what cost or benefit?
Provide a major thematic overview of diplomacy
To what extent should diplomatic identity be
and its study that is both retrospective and
denied and at what cost or benefit?
Can `new actors, for example, the Coca Cola
Provide an overview of the field that is intro-
corporation, or the Doctors Without Borders
spective, self-reflective and critical of dominant
organization, or the Invisible Children campaign
understandings and practices of diplomacy.
cultivate not just transnational but diplomatic
No one can singly undertake such a massive relationships?
Can certain aspects of diplomatic practice be
task. We think the cumulative result is splen-
privatized or subcontracted and at what cost
did and has certainly fulfilled our own expec-
or benefit?
tations! We also think the result contributes To what extent are diplomatic immunity and dip-
to knowledge about contemporary diplomacy lomatic asylum important norms or unnecessary
in other recent texts and handbooks (see, for privileges in a globalized age?
example, texts by Pigman, 2010; Bjola and To what extent and under what conditions can
Kornprobst, 2013; Kerr and Wiseman, 2013; diplomacy and violence coexist?
and the handbook by Cooper etal., 2013). What constitutes diplomatic knowledge, how
should it be acquired, and how far should the
general public have access to it?
How do diplomatic relations historically evolve
PERSISTENCE IN QUESTIONING and how are they artfully maintained?
DIPLOMACY What are the main issues that traditionally
concern particular diplomatic actors, what issues
The chapters in the Handbook demonstrate that interest them are regionally and globally
the plural character of how diplomacy may sidelined, and why?

In diplomatic relationships, who has what influence/ Brown, C. (2012). `The Practice Turn,
power, over what issues, during what periods, and Phronesis and Classical Realism: Towards a
through the use of what methods and mechanisms? Phronetic International Political Theory?
How can the diplomatic practice of particular Millennium-Journal of International Studies,
actors be understood, revisited, and revised when 40 (3): 439456.
viewed through different theoretical perspectives? Constantinou, C.M. (1996) On the Way to
How are alternative diplomatic cultures, both actual Diplomacy. Minnesota University Press.
and potential, to be studied and learned from? Constantinou, C.M. (2006) On homo-
To what extent are we moving into a mana- diplomacy, Space and Culture, 9 (4):
gerialization, de-professionalization, or trans- 35164.
professionalization of diplomacy? Cooper, A.F., Heine, J., and Thakur, R. (eds)
(2013) The Oxford Handbook of Modern
A final word. In the early stages of the process Diplomacy. Oxford University Press.
of assembling this Handbook it seemed at Cornago, N. (2013) Plural Diplomacies:
times as if we had committed ourselves to cre- Normative Predicaments and Functional
ating a veritable Leviathan of diplomacy cov- Imperatives. Martinus Nijhoff/Brill.
Der Derian, J. (1987) On Diplomacy: A
ering nearly every conceivable aspect of the
Genealogy of Western Estrangement.
practice from nearly every conceivable angle. Blackwell.
As our work progressed, however, we became Derrida, J. (1982) Margins of Philosophy.
increasingly aware of three things: substantive Harvester Press.
gaps which we will leave to our reviewers to Kerr, P. and Wiseman, G. (eds) (2013)
identify; a wide range of views on diplomacy Diplomacy in a Globalizing World. Theories
which cannot always be coherently related to and Practices. Oxford University Press.
each other; and, above all, a sense that the col- Navari, C. (2014) Practices in the Society of
lection was producing more questions than States, paper presented at the International
answers. Social formations come and go, while Studies Association 55th Annual Convention,
diplomacy is perennial. Nevertheless, as social March 2014.
Pigman, G.A. (2010) Contemporary Diplomacy.
formations change, so too do diplomatic prac-
Polity Press.
tices, as do the opportunities for diplomacy, in Pouliot, V. and Cornut, J. (2015) Practice
its turn, to enable positive changes in the ways theory and the study of diplomacy: a research
in which people think about and conduct their agenda, Cooperation and Conflict, 50(3):
relations with one another. 297513.
At the end of the project, we have a strong Satow, E. (1917) A Guide to Diplomatic
sense that we are at the beginning, but just the Practice, Vol. 1. Longmans.
beginning, of such changes. As you read the Sending, O.J., Pouliot, V., and Neumann, I.B.
following collection, we very much hope that (eds) (2015) Diplomacy and the Making of
the essays in it encourage you to think about World Politics. Cambridge University Press.
and make your own sense of what diplomacy Sharp, P. (2009) Diplomatic Theory of International
Relations. Cambridge University Press.
is, what it is becoming, and what it might be.
Walker, R.B.J (1988) One World, Many Worlds:
Struggles For A Just World Peace. L. Rienner.
Watson, A. (1982) Diplomacy: The Dialogue
REFERENCES Between States. Methuen.
Wight, M. (1960) Why is there no International
Agathangelou, A.M. and Ling, L.H. (2009) Theory?, International Relations, 2 (1), 3548.
Transforming World Politics: From Empire to Wiseman, G. (2015) Diplomatic practices at
Multiple Worlds. Routledge. the United Nations, Cooperation and
Bjola, C. and Kornprobst, M. (2013) Conflict, 50(3): 316333.
Understanding International Diplomacy. Wittgenstein, L. (1958) Philosophical
Routledge. Investigations. Blackwell.

Theoretical Perspectives in
Costas M. Constantinou and Paul Sharp

Diplomacy has been theorized long before the of speculation about diplomacy whose his-
development of the subfield of diplomatic torical absence might lead one to conclude
theory that we currently associate with the that there is a kind of recalcitrance of diplo-
academic discipline of International Relations macy to be theorized about, or indeed that
(IR). Within modern academia, theorizing is there is no international and, hence in Wights
commonly perceived as a systematization of framing, no diplomatic theory at all (Wight
thinking, an extensive elaboration of ideas and 1966). By contrast, we suggest that there is a
principles governing or seeking to explain a lot of diplomatic theory around, including
particular phenomenon. Early theorizing, when writers do not name what they do as
however, is often fragmentary and unsystem- diplomatic theory. Our theoretical perspec-
atic, as are certain strands of contemporary tives in diplomacy are thus grounded in the
theorizing, specifically strands that follow key conceptual explorations, epistemological
what Paul Feyerabend (1975) called an anar- exchanges and normative and critical proposi-
chistic theory of knowledge. All approaches tions concerning different aspects of diplo-
can provide valuable perspectives, insights matic practice.
and modes of inquiry. That is why, in this
chapter, we look at various disciplinarian
attempts that seek to offer more or less com-
plete explanatory narratives of diplomacy, but EARLY DIPLOMATIC THOUGHT
also others that go beyond the so-called grand
theory approaches (Skinner 1990) and under- Bearing the above in mind, the diplomatic
score the contributions of fragmentary and researcher might be initially struck by the
unsystematic thought. To that extent, we do archaic link between the practice of theory
not limit our account to established traditions and the practice of diplomacy. Ancient Greek

theoria, as retrieved from the writings of When following a Judeo-Christian tra-

Herodotus and Plato, was the sacred embassy jectory, however, a different version of how
sent to consult the oracle as well as the ecu- faithfully to fulfil the diplomatic mission is in
menical embassy sent to see the world and operation. Based on the mytho-diplomacy
reflect on the doings, ideas and values of of the Fall from the grace of God, diplomatic
foreigners. That the name of these special missions reflect attempts at the horizontal
missions of problematization and sustained mediation of estrangement between earthly
reflection began to be employed by Socrates communities but also vertical mediation of
and his followers to designate the arduous estrangement between the human and the
activity of philosophical contemplation, of divine (Der Derian 1987). Medieval diplo-
knowing thyself and seeking to discover the matic thought based on Augustines magis-
true essence of beings, offers an interesting terial City of God, written in the fifth century
point of departure for diplomatic theory. It CE granted the Church mediating powers
suggests a complex entanglement between between the earthly cities and the heavenly
early theorizing and diplomatizing, the link- city. Within a sacralized cosmology, this in
ing of the incompleteness of human knowl- effect gave the Church not only spiritual but
edge with the ceaseless search and negotiation temporal diplomatic powers and established
of the foreign, the unknown and the unex- in Western Europe a hierarchical diplomatic
plained. From quite early on, diplomacy has system with the Pope at its head.
been as much about the negotiation of mean- In medieval and early Renaissance treatises
ing, value and knowledge as of the negotia- on the diplomatic office, topics like the socia-
tion of interests and positions (Constantinou bility, court behaviour, polymathy, oratorical
1996; see also Chapter 11 in this Handbook). and persuasive skills of diplomatic agents
Among classical, medieval and modern are extensively discussed (see Mattingly
thinkers of diplomacy, a key and recurring 1955, Queller 1967, Hampton 2009). A trait
issue has been the outlining of the necessary to which diplomatic theorists have also paid
conditions for fulfilling the diplomatic mis- attention is temperament and emotional intel-
sion. It includes the demarcation of the role ligence or, as Bernard du Rosier aptly put it,
of the diplomatic agent, delineating the skills the development of equanamitas, that is, tam-
and ethics of the ideal ambassador within ing ones emotions and cultivating a balanced
different diplomatic cultures. One of the ear- psychology. The enhancement of these quali-
liest exchanges on this subject is found in ties has been strongly linked to the evolution
the orations of Aeschines and Demosthenes of diplomatic civility and tact (Mastenbroek
on The False Embassy (Peri Parapresbeias), 1999).
which concerned legal charges pressed by the Another key focus of the diplomatic craft
latter on the former for his ambassadorial con- has been negotiation. Not only the conditions
duct in fourth-century BCE Athens, follow- for a successful negotiation but the ends of
ing a series of embassies to the Macedonians negotiation have been a major concern for
(Demosthenes 2000, Aeschines 2005). The philosophers and practitioners. Early on in
orations offer valuable insights on what con- ancient Rome, stoic philosophers, like Cicero
stituted a properly discharged embassy at and Seneca, re-conceptualized negotiation as
the time, outlining arguments and counter- something other than mere public business
arguments on the responsibility for ambassa- and/or bargaining of interests (Cicero 1913,
dorial reporting and policy advice; on faithfully Seneca 1932a, 1932b). For these philoso-
implementing the instructions of the polis; the phers, negotium was valorized as an occu-
appropriate conduct of the ambassador while pation that strived to benefit the extended
abroad and on taking responsibility for miss- community beyond the polis, and only if
ing opportunities as assessed post facto. that was not possible, then benefiting ones
Theoretical Perspectives in Diplomacy 15

limited community, if not possible, benefiting On the other side of the spectrum, however,
those who are nearest, and if not possible, then and especially when one realizes that diplo-
striving for the protection of private interests. macy is almost always not a one-off game
In short, negotiation as primarily or exclu- but an iterative business, one finds thinkers
sively a self-serving exercise was rejected by such as De Callires (1983) underscoring the
these philosophers (Constantinou 2006). importance of honesty in negotiation, cru-
In seventeenth-century Europe, Cardinal cial in developing long-term and sustainable
Richelieu has been the key thinker of continu- relationships with others and not simply con-
ous negotiation, elevated and valorized as an cerned with short-term gains or empire build-
end in itself, including during war and even ing. The complete reversal of Machiavellian
with no possible agreement in sight (Richelieu, strategy comes with thinkers like Mahatma
1965). The idea of continuous negotiation Gandhi (1997), where the means employed
underscored the importance of always retain- should always match the ends, projecting a
ing open channels of communication, so that more holisticspiritual approach in dealing
compromise and settlement could follow when with rivals irrespective of the means they
conditions allowed for them some time in the choose to use. While this re-integrates personal
future. This notion further highlighted the morality with public morality it also offers a
value of indirection or multi-directionality in different strategy in sync with the moral, phil-
diplomacy, the importance of negotiating for osophical and anti-colonial aspirations that
side effects. These sideway pursuits could those involved were professing at that time
occur not merely strategically or as a devious (see also Chapter 10 in this Handbook).
objective of negotiation, but as a pragmatic Raison dtat has been suggested to be
response when stalemates have been reached, the founding principle of modern diplo-
informing and reformulating unsustainable macy (Kissinger 1994). Conceived in
policy objectives and as a means of explor- early Renaissance Italy by thinkers such as
ing modi vivendi in the midst of protracted Guicciardini and Machiavelli, it legitimated
disagreement (Constantinou 2012; see also diplomatic action through policies and activi-
Chapter 17 in this Handbook). ties that promoted the status of the ruler, but
Philosopherspractitioners have reflected which progressively acquired an impersonal
on strategy, often depicted as a crucial ingre- legal quality and autonomous ethics. Yet, it is
dient of diplomacy that underscores the in the more sustained meditations of Cardinal
meansends method of getting ones way with Richelieu in seventeenth-century Europe that
others. In this regard, the importance of deceit raison dtat finds its fully-fledged appli-
and dissimulation, or less darkly of ambigu- cation; that is, in building alliances with
ity, has been highlighted by thinkers from Protestant states by reason of acting in the
Sun Tzu to Machiavelli. Crucially retrieved national interest of France rather than on the
from these strategic thinkers, although often basis of ideological and religious reasons
singularly and absolutely interpreted, has that should have supported contrary alliances
been the bypassing of restraining ethics or the with Catholic states.
development of a different ethics (i.e. public Beyond theorizations linked to statecraft
morality vs private morality) in determining a concerns, there have been humanist medita-
course of action. The prevalent motto in such tions among a number of diplomatic think-
diplomatic thinking is that the end always ers with regard to the ends of diplomacy in
justifies the means, which has worked as a early Renaissance Europe. These reflec-
moral license in diplomacy for lying abroad tions have been subsequently sidelined or
for ones country, for intrigue, coercion and co-opted in accounts of diplomatic thought
the use of force (see also Chapter 3 in this tied to statecraft. Whether to serve the peace
Handbook). or the prince and international order or

dynastical/patriotic interest were major call diplomacy is not, properly speaking,

concerns for writers like Ermolao Barbaro, diplomacy but something else, for example,
Etienne Dolet, Torquato Tasso, Gasparo foreign policy or statecraft. The claim is
Bragaccia and Alberico Gentili, often pre- interesting because, despite the efforts of its
sented as predicaments, not as settled posi- advocates over a period of nearly two dec-
tions (Hampton 2009, Constantinou 2013; ades, the study of diplomacy remains on the
see also Chapter 2 in this Handbook). margins of mainstream IR. It is also inter-
esting because some of the most innovative
and challenging work on diplomacy has been
Key Points undertaken not in any spirit of advocacy for
diplomacy as it is conventionally understood,
Early diplomatic encounters combined advocacy, but more from a fascination with the prob-
negotiation and problem-solving with missions
lems which diplomacy seeks to address or,
of reflection and problematization.
more properly, give cause for its existence.
The diverse means and ends of diplomacy have
been historically debated with regard to the nor- Nevertheless, the claim that diplomacy has
mative aspirations of diplomatic actors. been neglected may not be particularly impor-
In the modern era, raison dtat has predomi- tant. The question neglected by whom?
nantly linked diplomacy to statecraft, sidelining admits a range of possible answers American
its humanist legacy and promise. IR, leading academics, academics in general,
ordinary people which provide grounds for
valorizing or bypassing diplomacys perceived
neglect. It might be useful to note in this con-
DIPLOMACY AND INTERNATIONAL text that most of the subfields of mainstream
RELATIONS IR are minor powers whose advocates voice
concerns about being undervalued by the rest
It is an article of faith among most scholars of the profession both as a natural disposition
of diplomacy that their chosen field and its and as a way to capture more resources, exert
subject are unjustly and unwisely neglected more influence and achieve more status.
by their mainstream IR colleagues (Cohen IR developed as a state-centric field
1998, Sharp 1999, Murray etal. 2011). This of inquiry, and very much remains one
is true up to a point, but it is true in a way today. States, their roles and their signifi-
which is complicated and interesting. The cance remain the axis around which inquiry
extent to which this issue is deemed impor- revolves. Even the descants and challenges
tant depends on how seriously one takes to their privileged position which are pro-
diplomacy to be an autonomous concept that liferating still seem to reinforce, rather than
can in itself offer valuable perspectives in undermine, this centrality. As a consequence,
understanding and explaining international diplomacy has been seen in mainstream IR
relations. as a state practice. It is assumed to exist, and
The claim of diplomacys neglect is only exist in the way that it does, because states
true up to a point because, as even a cur- and the modern system of sovereign terri-
sory glance at some of the major works in torial states exist. It is assumed to function
IR reveals, quite a lot of attention is devoted in accordance with the interests, priorities
to something called diplomacy (Morgenthau and concerns of these entities. In short, for
1967, Kissinger 1994, Avenhaus and most scholars the sovereign territorial state
Zartman 2007). The claim is complicated provides diplomacys raison dtre (see also
because when this is pointed out to students Chapter 21 in this Handbook).
of diplomacy, they tend to respond that So far so good; but what is diplomacy
what people like Morgenthau and Kissinger thought to be in mainstream IR? This is
Theoretical Perspectives in Diplomacy 17

where things become complicated. Often, (1967), for example, saw good or wise diplo-
especially in the United States (US), the term macy as the most realistically achievable way
is used as a synonym for foreign policy or of escaping the fate to which the national
international relations in general (James interests of states were otherwise propelling
1993). Its use for international relations in humankind death in the nuclear age.
general may be regarded as a holdover from a If we can accept that states, or their rep-
time in the history of the modern state system resentatives, very often approach matters of
when it was reasonable to claim that nearly all common concern simply by talking things
important international relations were under- through, then diplomacy may be seen as an
taken by professional diplomats representing instrument of foreign policy. One way of
sovereign states. It may also be regarded as getting what you want is by talking to other
evidence of people, and Americans in par- people. However, the claims in mainstream
ticular, using language loosely, although the IR that diplomacy can render foreign policy
argument has been made that in the latter more efficient, serve as a force multiplier or
case, treating diplomacy and international constitute a morally better way of conducting
relations as synonyms is rooted in a rejection international relations all pose problems for
of the idea that international relations ought the idea that diplomacy is simply one among
to be treated differently from other human several instruments of foreign policy. As soon
relations (Clinton 2012). In this view, the as states move from simply talking to com-
term diplomacy should not be used to desig- municating threats and promises about pun-
nate a privileged subset of either international ishments and rewards, then diplomacy moves
or human relations demanding to run to its from simply being an instrument of foreign
own codes and to be judged by its own moral policy to being a medium by which the possi-
standards. ble use of the other instruments is communi-
Similar arguments can be made for treat- cated. It may be important, indeed necessary,
ing diplomacy and foreign policy as syno- but it is no more interesting than the pro-
nyms (see also Chapter 5 in this Handbook). cesses by which the message gets delivered,
In addition, however, diplomacy is presented especially when compared to the things being
in mainstream IR as an instrument of foreign communicated (see further Chapter 6 in this
policy along with propaganda, economic Handbook).
rewards and punishments, and the threat Even as diplomacy is viewed as a medium
or use of force to crush or punish (Holsti by which the possible use of other foreign
1967). Morgenthau, in particular, presents policy instruments is communicated, how-
diplomacy as an undervalued instrument of ever, it acquires another and more com-
foreign policy and one which, if used prop- plex form of instrumentality. This becomes
erly, confers the advantages of a force mul- apparent as soon as it is acknowledged that
tiplier, and a morally significant one at that. diplomatic messages can be more or less
Good diplomacy enhances the more mate- effectively delivered, diplomatic conversa-
rial instruments of power allowing a state tions can be more or less effectively con-
to punch above its weight or achieve what ducted and diplomatic dmarches can be
it wants more cheaply. Bad diplomacy can more or less effectively undertaken. There is
result in a state using its other foreign policy more to getting what states want than simply
instruments unwisely and underperform- communicating it and what they are prepared
ing as a consequence. In addition, however, to do or give to get it. And when the idea of
good diplomacy is good because it is asso- diplomacy is imbued with the notion that it is
ciated with pursuing foreign policy objec- a particularly good way for states to get what
tives peacefully and taking a bigger picture they want because it is generally cheaper
view of what needs to be done. Morgenthau than the alternatives and peaceful, then this

raises the question of for whom and for what better understood. A number of reasons for
purposes diplomacy may be regarded as an why diplomacy has been depreciated and
instrument. If monopolized by statecraft, it devalorized have been put forward. The rise
thus raises questions of representation and of IR, it is sometimes argued, coincided with
inclusiveness as well as of substate and trans- a period of international history in which
national interests. strategic issues were to the fore, an anti-
Mainstream IR has not been interested diplomacy superpower performed the role
in considering, let alone resolving, these of hegemon and structural factors appeared
puzzles about whether diplomacy should be to rule over agency in making things happen
viewed as an instrument (and if so whose (Der Derian 1987, Lee and Hudson 2004,
instrument and for what purposes), a medium Wiseman 2012). By the turn of the twenty-
(and if so why and when a virtuous one), or first century it was suggested changes in
a combination of both. Instead, it has simply structure whether of a transformational or
treated them as aspects of other issues, leav- balance of power kind were re-opening
ing its understanding of diplomacy compart- the door to agency and therefore to a revival
mentalized to the point of being fragmented of diplomacy (see also Chapter 7 in this
and incoherent. Thus diplomacy, viewed sim- Handbook). These changes may be occurring,
ply as the way a state talks to other states, but they have not been matched by a rise of
has been presented as not only unimportant interest in diplomacy in mainstream IR.
but in its traditional form as a way of com- Those who are the most closely interested
municating through resident embassies and in traditional state-based diplomacy take
foreign ministries as in decline (Fulton two different tacks in explaining this lack of
1998). Diplomacy as a way of enhancing (or interest. First, they hold on to the old argu-
inhibiting) the effectiveness of other foreign ment that diplomacy is necessarily an eso-
policy instruments has been treated as state- teric business beyond the understanding of
craft the preserve of the great statesman or most people and incapable of arousing their
stateswoman especially during crises (George sympathetic interest (Berridge 1995). This
1991) as a not particularly distinctive type is sometimes accompanied by the corol-
of bargaining and negotiation (Crocker etal. lary of little respect for other IR academics.
1999), and as a similarly undistinctive type of Compare, for example, what is covered and
organizational and network activity (Hocking attracts attention and what is ignored on the
etal. 2012). Finally, diplomacy viewed as a programme of a mainstream IR academic
good way of handling international relations conference like the annual ISA Convention
has been treated as a subfield of the ethics of with what a Foreign Ministry, a bar of foreign
international and human conduct in general, correspondents or ordinary people on a bus
as a component of international institution- would list as pressing international issues.
building and as a practice being superseded Under pressure, however, diplomacys more
and displaced by the emergence of global traditional advocates sometimes retreat into
governance and public diplomacy conducted maintaining that diplomacy is simply the IR
by the representatives of an emerging civil equivalent of Public Administration a worthy,
society (Seib 2009). but not particularly exciting, subfield about
The response of those interested in which it is important to know something and
diplomacy to mainstream IRs fragmented which happens to interest them (Berridge
understanding has been uncertain. On the 1995, Rana 2000).
whole, it has mirrored that fragmentation This modest position on diplomacy
rather than made a coherent and appealing is plausible but not convincing. Most
case for their shared view that diplomacy students of diplomacy maintain that it is
is interesting, important and needs to be interesting because it is important and
Theoretical Perspectives in Diplomacy 19

that this importance makes its neglect by them with restraint so that they would not
mainstream IR a source of concern. Why do damage the international system or society
they think it is important? In part they tap as a whole which made their existence and
into the sense that members of professions actions possible (Butterfield 1966, Sharp
and trade unions have of their being at the 2003).
centre of things. Whether it is the operating There are at least two problems with this
table, the classroom, the law court or the conception of diplomats acting as guardians
coal face, they are all liable to claim that of the international system and handlers
their particular site is where the real action of their respective sovereigns to that end.
takes place and the real work gets done. The The first is that it is possible to obtain only
diplomatic system of embassies, consulates, glimpses of them as system guardians and
ministries and international organizations state handlers while we see a great deal of
is thus the engine room of international them as state instruments. The diplomats
relations (Cohen 1998; see also Chapter themselves can occasionally be spotted
12 and 13 in this Handbook). This may be praising one of their number for restraining
a professional conceit, but it is backed by or subverting the wishes of his or her own
a body of literature on diplomacy which political masters for a bigger interest or
stresses its role, not as one of the instruments value. And once in a while we get the sense
of foreign policy, but as a practice which that a group of diplomats have taken it upon
constitutes, reproduces, maintains and themselves to act in this way to prevent
transforms international systems and world matters getting out of hand. When pressed
orders (Sending etal. 2011, 2015). to acknowledge this sort of activity directly,
This body of literature has a long pedigree, however, a diplomat will become uneasy and
reaching back in Europe, at least, to the late for the record quickly fall back on versions of
Medieval debates referenced above about Barbaros famous formulation, namely that a
how ministers (ambassadors) should strike diplomats duty is to do, say, advise and think
the right balance between their obligations to whatever may best serve the preservation and
their respective Princes and to Peace. Thus, aggrandizement of his own state (Mattingly
preserving the peace of Christendom was 1955).
argued to take priority over the interests of The second problem with the broad con-
Princes when these two conflicted, and it was ception of what diplomats do, or think they
this which provided the functions of ministers are doing, is the general claim that, for a
with their sacred quality. This broader host of technical, social and political rea-
conception of the duties of diplomats and the sons, whatever they are doing is becoming
functions of diplomacy was further elaborated less important for understanding what people
in the eighteenth century by references to want to know about international relations.
a diplomatic body or corps diplomatique Diplomats may work quietly as the guardians
constituted by all the diplomats in a capital of the international society of states and oth-
and their shared interest in knowing what ers as they understand this to be. However,
was going on (Pecquet 2004 [1737] (see this may amount to no more than saying that,
also Chapter 14 in this Handbook). In the like the secret order in a Dan Brown novel,
twentieth century this emerging collective they are working on behalf of a conception of
professional consciousness was captured by things in which hardly anybody else has any
the distinction between the demands made on interest. The more traditional approaches to
diplomats by la raison dtat and la raison the study of diplomacy in mainstream IR have
de systme (Watson 1983). Good diplomats no effective response to this criticism. To find
would recognize that the wider interests of that, one has to look at other approaches to
their states were best served by pursuing the study of international relations.

Key Points literature and the arts, critical IR theorists

draw attention to the problems with mak-
Within the IR discipline, diplomacy has often
ing such an assumption. It is impossible to
been understood and studied synonymously with
make true or false claims about what diplo-
foreign policy, state communication and interna-
tional relations. macy really is, only from what people say it
Diplomacy has been approached as an instru- is and how they use the term. If this is so, then
ment or medium of statecraft raising practical attempts to define diplomacy objectively are,
and normative questions about representation, in effect, attempts to define it authoritatively
inclusiveness and purpose. which, intentionally or not, exclude, margin-
Beyond statecraft pursuits, diplomacy has been alize or suppress other uses of the term as
theorized as a practice that produces, secures well as alternative practices and cultures of
and transforms international systems and world diplomacy. Critical theorists argue that how
orders. people talk about and practise diplomacy
often differently in different times, places and
circumstances should be explored. Histories
of the way the term has come into being and is
DIPLOMATIC THEORY AND used among technocrats but also in popular
CRITICAL IR culture and imagination should be traced.
Changes in the way its practice is used to
In particular, it is useful to look at those IR help constitute the world of international
approaches which style themselves, or are relations whether it would be colonial or
presented, as post-modernist, post-structuralist, postcolonial, statecentric or pluralist, and so
post-colonialist and post-positivist (hereafter on should be identified. And theorists them-
all identified as critical approaches to diplo- selves should self-consciously use, stretch
macy to distinguish them from mainstream and transgress the term to explore possibili-
ones). The divide between mainstream and ties for making helpful, empowering, and
critical is intentionally overdrawn to clarify transformational interventions of their own in
patterns of inquiry. Most mainstream IR, political life (Der Derian 1987, Constantinou
viewed from a critical standpoint, assumes 1996, Constantinou and Der Derian 2010,
the existence of an objective, observable Cornago 2013).
world which is produced by law-governed While diplomacy has enjoyed the status
processes of cause and effect. Problems of of a backwater in mainstream IR, it is nota-
context and perception may make it hard to ble how critical theorists have been drawn
access this world in a way that is agreeable to into the backwater by the current. They
all, and some phenomena of interest within it have so for a variety of different reasons.
may have less independent existence than Critical theorists often, although not always,
others. Nevertheless, a mainstream consen- are interested in the way understandings of
sus exists that the effort to access this real international relations may be ordered in
world and explain its patterns is possible the interests of constellations of wealth and
and worth making. Thus, it is assumed we power. Diplomacy and diplomats, both con-
can identify and observe something which ventionally understood, are easily presented
everyone, or at least reasonable people, will as obvious manifestations, guardians and
agree is diplomacy, then take it as a given, perpetuators of the separations and aliena-
examine how it works, and make an assess- tions (ethnic, racial, colonial, gender and so
ment of its place and significance in the on) upon which those orders of wealth and
overall scheme of things. power are seen to depend (Der Derian 1987,
Drawing on a variety of sources in phi- Opondo 2010, Neumann 2012a). To be sure,
losophy, psychology, sociology, linguistics, diplomacy employs wealth and power to
Theoretical Perspectives in Diplomacy 21

achieve ends, but it is also less pronounced entrenched and unchanging, same old char-
yet rather revealingly a site for the deploy- acterizations of the same old melodramas
ment of truth claims and identity games, that of international relations. While critical inter-
is, a site for exercising knowledge as power national theorists interested in diplomacy
and power as knowledge. share this insight, however, they put it to dif-
In addition, the practice of diplomacy is ferent uses. Some approaches, for example,
identified as providing us with one of the offer detailed accounts of how phenomena as
more obvious glimpses of what critical theo- varied as the naming of street signs, the ensu-
rists want to tell us the rest of life in society ing political arguments and the commentaries
is like. Diplomats are explicitly engaged in of experts and diplomats on the whole pro-
creating and maintaining the ambiguous and cess help constitute international narratives,
shifting identities of the states and other enti- while revealing their gaps, concealments
ties which they are employed to represent and contradictions at the same time (Der
(Sharp 1999). They are also engaged in con- Derian 2012). Some approaches study con-
stituting international systems through the ventional anomalies non-state actors with
performance of their roles. Often, top-down well-established diplomatic standing, for
diplomatic practice is not as autonomous example to demonstrate how the diplomatic
as it seems; it is revised and complemented system is more open, and hence amenable to
by local practices and discourses (Neumann change, than it is conventionally presented
2002, 2012b). This performative aspect of (Btora and Hynek 2014 ). Some approaches
the diplomatic vocation is quite revealing. demonstrate how apparent breakdowns
Sometimes diplomats actually tell us this is are managed in such a way as to deepen
what they are doing (though often after the and consolidate the arrangements to which
fact in memoirs), and they reflect on the sort they are a response (Adler-Nissen 2015).
of disposition which is required to do it effec- Others retrieve the non-Eurocentric origins of
tively. Yet by observing the diplomats we diplomacy, engaging, for example, ancient
obtain the insight that the rest of social life classics like the Mahabharata to illustrate
is not so very different from diplomacy and how putatively mythical principles of nego-
that the lives of all human beings, particularly tiating a unified cosmos offered valuable
in their social and public aspect, are not so diplomatic principles before, during and after
very different from the professional lives of the colonization of India (Datta-Ray 2015).
diplomats. In other words, we can appreci- Still others point to the need to reject the con-
ate that diplomacy is not merely an inherited sensus and embrace the diplomatic dissen-
courtly profession but actually is all around sus, that is, the need to broaden and change
us, not a mere practice of trained initiates popular perception of what is sensible, to
but an everyday vocation and mode of living appreciate the dark sides of diplomatic agree-
(Constantinou 2013 and 2016). We also learn ment and conviviality, and their effects on
that the fragmented, incoherent, but mainly the less powerful, the unrepresented and the
unfocused accounts of diplomacy provided dispossessed (Opondo 2012; see also Chapter
by mainstream IR are not weaknesses. They 3 in this Handbook). Finally, others draw on
are clues that something very interesting an ethics of inclusiveness and prudence with
might be going on that needs to be investi- regard to diplomatic conduct as a way of
gated and accounted for (Constantinou 1996, recalibrating diplomacy (Cooper etal. 2008,
Sharp 2009, Cornago 2013, Holmes 2013). Bjola and Kornprobst 2013).
With this insight, the diplomatic backwa- Sociological approaches identify the gaps
ter becomes a wider space promising escape which exist between the actual practice of
from mainstream IR and its artificially diplomats in the day-to-day and the accounts
fixed channels with their contending, but which mainstream IR observers and the

diplomats themselves provide of what is sup- of international practice and theory. What
posed to be going on (Sending et al. 2011, is clear is that, in borrowing from outside
2015). Practice approaches are not neces- the discipline of mainstream IR, students of
sarily all critical, however. Some are more diplomacy have benefitted from and, in turn,
rooted in legal traditions, seeking to iden- contributed to long traditions of speculation
tify the authoritatively specified goals and about diplomacy which exist in other fields.
explicit principles of conduct for diplomacy
by which undertakings of it may be evalu-
ated (see also Chapter 15 in this Handbook). Key Points
However, they do so not to define diplomacy
and its functions authoritatively, but to dis- Critical perspectives in diplomacy have chal-
lenged dominant accounts of what diplomacy is
cover these principles, explicate them and
or ought to be.
explore their implications (Navari 2010). Most of these approaches seek to expose the
Some approaches seek to uncover specifi- ethical and power implications of different prac-
cally diplomatic elements in the conduct of tices of diplomacy, and specifically the margin-
international relations and human relations alizations, hierarchies, exclusions and alienations
generally. They seek to capture the views, that these practices consciously or unconsciously
priorities and assumptions of those who find produce.
themselves situated between, and charged Some of these approaches are sympathetic to
with managing the relations of, human groups diplomacy as a practice for managing a world
which wish to remain separate from one composed of agents equipped with positivist
another (Sharp 2009, Bjola and Kornprobst and universal, yet competing, understandings of
this world.
2013). Still others recover the lost, forgotten
Critical approaches have helped to bring the
and ignored origins of terms like diplomacy, field of diplomatic studies into conversation
embassy and theory to create openings for with other fields of IR and underscored the
more imaginative and creative explorations significance of opening up diplomacy to scholarly
of what it might mean to be a diplomat and developments beyond the discipline.
do diplomacy (Constantinou 1996).
There has been an expansion of interest in
critical approaches to theorizing diplomacy.
They are more than well-represented in the DIPLOMACY BEYOND THE IR
recent publications in what Neumann has DISCIPLINE
called the rapid professionalization of diplo-
macy studies (Btora and Hynek 2014). Two Diplomacy has also been theorized outside
established book series in diplomatic studies the IR discipline. Even though such works
have recently been joined by two new ones, have not intensely or deeply engaged the
plus another series devoted to public diplo- concept of diplomacy per se, they have
macy. The only journal devoted exclusively broadly conceived and applied it. At the same
to the study of diplomacy has just completed time they have imported standard or alterna-
its first decade and journals focused on pub- tive definitions of diplomacy into their
lic diplomacy and business diplomacy have research. Their theoretical contributions,
appeared. Nevertheless, the impact of all though tangential, as far as mainstream IR is
these diplomatic studies on the citadels of concerned, are nonetheless important; spe-
mainstream IR, especially in the US, remains cifically in the way they extend the scope and
unclear. Equally unclear, however, is the understanding of diplomatic practice with
extent to which capturing these citadels, or regard to a multiplicity of actors beyond
even only breaching their walls, matters in states but also with regard to conflict resolu-
an increasingly plural and horizontal world tion or transformation, reconciliation and
Theoretical Perspectives in Diplomacy 23

peace-building, dialogue of civilizations, rituals, marriage settlements, breast-feeding

place-branding or communication strategy, across rival communities, and so on, have
and so on. been seen to constitute overt or subtle ways
For example, there have been attempts of extending kinship and commonality, and of
to bring together diplomatic and religious mediating otherness. More recently, Richard
studies, thus engendering a theological and Sennett (2012) has employed the term eve-
spiritual dimension into the theory of diplo- ryday diplomacy in the context of discussing
macy. Already within IR there have been togetherness and to refer to the daily activi-
commendable attempts to revive diplomacy, ties and tactics that people use in order to
through the Christian notions of care, char- cooperate in the midst of conflict and rivalry.
ity and self-sacrifice (Butterfield 1954) or Specifically, Sennett highlights the tact and
through the Islamic notions of truth, justice indirection, the coded gestures, but also the
and extensions of community, as contrasted empathetic talk, dialogic conversations and
to cunning and guile, coercion and national performances that create conditions of collab-
interest (Igbal 1975). In some other writings, orative togetherness in everyday encounters.
religion has been suggested as the miss- Interesting contributions from within
ing dimension of statecraft or faith-based geography have highlighted the legiti-
diplomacy promoted as a means of trump- mizing strategies of unofficial diploma-
ing realpolitik (Johnston and Sampson cies (McConnell et al. 2012). Focusing on
1994, Johnston 2003). Also within the con- actors that imitate state diplomacy, such as
text of new age spirituality, the pursuit of governments-in-exile and micropatrias (self-
world diplomacy has been suggested as a declared parodic nations), the authors exam-
means of approaching holistically the com- ine how diplomacy is used mimetically in
mon good of all humanity, promoting global order for these actors to make interventions
rather than national interests and by doing and gain degrees of recognition and legiti-
so seeking to get in touch with the divine macy in the international system. Others
unity of the world (Sidy 1992). An espe- have looked at the bureaucratic production of
cially interesting eco-religious dimension knowledge, authority and expertise in supra-
has been proposed by David Wellman in pur- national diplomatic services (Kuus 2013).
suit of a sustainable diplomacy (2004). He From within pedagogy, it has been suggested
specifically identifies common Christian and (Richardson 2012) that multicultural educa-
Islamic precepts that help people to relate tion should be reconsidered as a diplomatic
more constructively to each other and their activity; specifically in the way it is supposed
environment, but also to bring about conflict- to enhance a diplomatic sensibility; not only
transformation and awareness of structural in the sense of teachers as representatives
violence; in the end producing a sustainable of their institutions but also as negotiators of
diplomacy that supports empathetic encoun- the differences of minoritized communities.
ters and self-critique. This has been argued as a way of fostering
Works in anthropology and sociology culturally responsive pedagogy as cultural
have brought diplomacy down from the level diplomacy, to counter-balance state-centred
of high politics and reconnected it to prac- cultural diplomacy that simply brands a token
tices of everyday life. One key early work multiculturalism. The theory of the living
has been Ragnar Numelins The Beginnings systems has also been employed to high-
of Diplomacy (1950), which has provided light the interrelatedness, non-linearity and
a plethora of illustrations of pre- and non- uncertainty of the world system, something
state diplomatic activities among tribes that renders problematic the exact calculation
and groups in non-western societies. Gift- of interests, the obsession with winning and
exchange, participating in common religious losing as well as the strict determination of

causal links and final effects in diplomatic In this regard, the Actor Network Theory
practice (Gunaratne 2005). of Bruno Latour (2005), suggesting that we
Volkans work (1999a, 1999b, 1999c) need to move beyond subjects and review
has sought to explore the entanglements of objects as non-human agents, can be use-
diplomacy and psychoanalysis: specifically ful with regard to diplomacy, especially his
the shift from individual to large group iden- proposition concerning the ability of objects
tities, and from small ego to large ego for- to act as mediators and intermediaries in
mations; the unconscious links between the different contexts: intermediaries being mere
nation, natality and the mother figure which carriers of power and knowledge, whereas
creates specific emotional attachments; the mediators having transformative ability, mul-
association of the leader and his policies with tiplying difference and supporting the recon-
the authority of the father, whose decisions stitution of subjectivity (Latour 2005). In his
may be challenged but ultimately sublimated latest major work, Latour suggests that the
at critical moments and followed due to current ecological crisis and the recognition
family loyalty; the constant use of others as of different modes of existence demand an
reservoirs for the projection of the negative entrusting to the tribulations of diplomacy.
aspects of ones identity. Overall, Volkans That is to say, resolving conflicts over value
work has outlined how diverse and recurring and ways of being in the world requires the
diplomatic activity can be better informed emulation of diplomatic agency; i.e. dip-
through introspective examinations into the lomats who are not just advocates of the
individual and collective unconscious. principles and interests of their masters but
Finally, works on ethnology and art his- directly interested in formulating other ver-
tory have sensitized diplomatic studies as sions of their [masters] ideals (Latour 2013:
to the value and role of diplomatic objects. 4834).
Kreamer and Fee (2002) have suggested that Negotiating what presents as real, refor-
we see diplomatic objects as envoys them- mulating what appears as ideal and, perhaps
selves, with the high symbolic value that above all, acknowledging that we are doing
specific objects, such as textiles or body arte- neither more nor less than this may be an apt
facts, might engender in particular cultures. principle of diplomatic method. If and when
This is something that is commonly missed applied, it may indeed help to constructively
in non-visual, language-centric approaches to engage the plethora of complex problems
diplomacy. Moreover, the work of Kreamer in contemporary global society as long as it
and Fee illustrates how the value of such dip- does not become a licence and caricature for
lomatic objects is transformed through ritual cynically prioritizing interests and discount-
and exchange (2002: 22). In McLaughlin ing aspirations. It may also serve as a final
et al.s Arts of Diplomacy (2003), we get point of reflection upon which to finish our
a fascinating glimpse of how diplomatic theoretical tour of diplomacy.
objects were instrumentalized in the encoun-
ters between US government emissaries and
Native Americans, but also how such objects Key Points
currently figure in the remembrance and com-
New theoretical perspectives in diplomacy have
memoration of these lost communities. This
been provided from within disciplines beyond
gives them a different functional value today, IR, such as sociology, anthropology, psychology,
serving as transhistorical envoys, supporting theology, philosophy and cultural studies as well
the mediation of contemporary estrangement as from within cross-disciplinary perspectives.
between settler and native communities in Such studies support the need for a more plural
the United States (see also Chapter 9 in this understanding and broadly conceived notion of
Handbook). diplomacy.
Theoretical Perspectives in Diplomacy 25

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Adler-Nissen, R. (2015) Opting Out of the Sustainable Diplomacies. Palgrave Macmillan.
European Union: Diplomacy, Sovereignty Cooper, A.F., Hocking, B., and Maley, W. (2008)
and European Integration. Cambridge (eds) Global Governance and Diplomacy:
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A Conceptual History
of Diplomacy
Halvard Leira1

INTRODUCTION emergence of diplomacy was part of a much

larger shift in political languages, replacing
Scholars of diplomacy have identified diplo- the understandings of absolutism with the new
matic practices across the human experience, understandings of the Enlightenment. What
spanning the globe and going back before we today refer to as diplomacy was, accord-
recorded history. Even so, the actual term ing to this understanding, born out of (Western)
diplomacy did not enter into usage until the revolution and enlightenment. Drawing on a
last decade of the eighteenth century.2 Does relatively modest secondary literature, as well
this discrepancy matter, and if so, what can it as a number of primary sources, I will thus
tell us? These are the underlying questions of emphasise the relative modernity of the con-
this chapter. The position taken here is that the cept of diplomacy, and how it emerged very
emergence of the specific concept is cru- rapidly as part of a much wider transformation
cial to our understanding of diplomacy. of political vocabularies around 1800.
Transhistorical reference to diplomatic prac- Furthermore, I will stress how it emerged as a
tice obscures the very distinct historical speci- contested concept (almost a term of abuse),
ficity of what we today refer to as diplomacy. and how it has repeatedly been contested over
The advent of the concept marked not only the the last two centuries. Where diplomacy was
drawing together of a number of what had for a long time viewed with strong suspicion,
been perceived as political activities of and even for its multiplicity of meanings, pre-
princes and their representatives and named dominantly associated with the state, over
them collectively as the business of interaction recent decades more positive connotations
between polities, it also happened as the cul- have been associated with the concept, and it
mination of a long process of critique against has been stretched to cover ever more
the very same practices. Furthermore, the phenomena.
A Conceptual History of Diplomacy 29

I make my argument in four steps. First I conceptual baggage to times when it is not
present the usefulness of conceptual history, warranted, insisting that concepts attain mean-
and the notion of conceptual change, which ing from their usage in specific historical
underlies this chapter. Then follows a longer contexts; thus one must study not only the
discussion about the emergence of diplo- meaning of concepts, but also how they are
macy, subdivided into sections dealing with put to work. Conceptual histories start from a
conceptual change in related concepts, the conviction that concepts are not simply tags
etymology of diplomacy and how diplomacy for fixed phenomena, but in and of themselves
emerged as the negatively loaded term set to tools or weapons in political struggle.
cover all that which radicals towards the end In the discipline of International Relations,
of the eighteenth century disliked about the conceptual history under that name has been
executive prerogative over external affairs. largely associated with the works of Quentin
The ensuing section covers the repeated chal- Skinner and the Cambridge School, while
lenges from new diplomacy, and how diplo- studies inspired by Michel Foucault have
macy has become a more positively loaded touched some of the same ground. For the pur-
term in recent decades. A brief conclusion pose of this chapter, some basic insights from
wraps up the chapter. the German school of conceptual history, asso-
ciated in particular with Reinhart Koselleck
(1985, 1988), will be utilised; namely the
notion of concepts as inherently ambiguous,
CONCEPTUAL HISTORY AND and the overarching claim that the period from
CONCEPTUAL CHANGE 1750 to 1850 witnessed a radical transforma-
tion of political language during the transition
When writing a regular history of diplomacy from the early modern time to modernity. Let
(like Black 2010), discussing the diplomacy us briefly discuss them in reverse order.
of some historical epoch or polity or present- First, the notion of a transformation of polit-
ing definitions or even the essence of diplo- ical language, of conceptual change, is tied to
macy (Jnsson and Hall 2005), writers work the enlightenment and the age of revolutions,
with some more or less abstracted or ideal- with emphasis on changes in established con-
typical notion of diplomatic practices and/or cepts as well as the emergence of completely
diplomatic institutions, and explore these in new concepts. Key to Koselleck is how this
their given context. Focus is on the signified, period witnessed what we can call the histori-
on the perceived content of diplomacy, and cising of history; for the first time history was
although long periods of time might be conceptualised not as a field of recurrence,
covered, the underlying theme is one of
but as inherently open-ended. What had come
stability diplomacy is recognisable across before needed not determine what was to
time and space. In contrast, a conceptual his- come. This was a radical departure, enabling
tory of diplomacy asks when and for what many of the other conceptual innovations of
purpose the concept diplomacy emerged, the period simply by breaking the bonds of
and what it has implied across time. Focus is recurrence. For our purpose, with diplomacy
on the signifier, on the meaning of the term emerging around 1790, this conceptualisation
diplomacy, and the underlying theme is one of general conceptual change seems pertinent.
of change diplomacy is expected to change Diplomacy emerged mainly as a negative
across time and space. The reasons for a con- description by non-diplomats, and almost
ceptual focus are many. At a basic level, one from the outset, the evils of old diplomacy
seeks to avoid explicit anachronistic usage; were contrasted with the new diplomacy,
the reading of the past in terms of the present. ideally without diplomats. Second, the differ-
More importantly one desires not to add ence between words and concepts, according

to Koselleck, lies in the surplus-meaning as a forerunner of diplomacy. When diplo-

of concepts. Following from Nietzsche, he macy entered the political vocabulary, it built
argues that concepts can never be fully pinned on existing terms and practices, but it gave a
down, that there is always some ambiguity new name to something which had not been
involved. This fits the current usage of diplo- collectively named until then. Terms such as
macy, which can refer to the practice of dip- negotiations (a staple of the widely read
lomats, in particular negotiations, but also to texts of e.g. Wicquefort and Callires) and
skill in the conduct of international relations. politics (as when the first school for future
It is also used as a synonym for foreign policy ministers in France, established in 1712, was
writ large, and as shorthand for both tact and called LAcadmie Politique) cover some of
finesse and a life of champagne, canaps and the same ground, and a number of specialised
receptions (Berridge and James 2001). The titles (such as ambassador, minister, envoy
multiplicity of meaning is evident also in the etc.) existed for the practitioners, but the
etymological development of diplomacy, totality of practice had not before been named.
and in the history of related concepts (see also Even so, some attention must be paid to poli-
Chapter 1 in this Handbook). tics and foreign policy, as the domain of the
unnamed group of princely representatives.

Key Points
Politics and foreign policy
A conceptual history of diplomacy treats diplo-
macy as a contingent phenomenon. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth cen-
Understanding diplomacy as a concept implies tury, ambassadors and envoys were clearly
acceptance of ambiguity and a surplus of meaning. seen as engaged in politics. Koselleck (1988)
suggests that absolutism rested on a concep-
tual dichotomy where the state monopolised
DIPLOMACY AND RELATED TERMS politics, leaving morality to the subjects.
Viroli (1992) and Palonen (2006) provide
more detailed readings of the conceptual
General, as well as etymological, dictionar-
history of politics and related concepts, sug-
ies pin the emergence of diplomacy to the
gesting that with the coming of reason of state,
last quarter of the eighteenth century, with
politics was no longer the most powerful
diplomatic, albeit largely with connotations
means of fighting oppression and corruption
which differ from the ones of the twenty-first
but the art of perpetuating them (Viroli 1992:
century, emerging some decades before.
477). Politics was also considered a whole,
Constantinou (1996: 78) argues that during
covering all forms of governance, from the
the medieval period,
household to relations between princes. Thus,
there was no single term that conveyed the the first sentence of the entry for politique in
themes of diplomacy in terms of statecraft, depu- the great encyclopaedia of Diderot and
tation, negotiation, foreign policy, tact, and so on, DAlembert, published in 1765, reads: La
nor was there a word that could be simply used as
philosophie politique est celle qui enseigne
a substitute for the term diplomacy without any
supplementary political associations and meaning. aux hommes se conduire avec prudence, soit
la tte dun tat, soit la tte dune famille
Although words with diploma as the root (Diderot and dAlembert 2013).3 Around the
started being used in the late medieval age, middle of the eighteenth century, a beginning
Constantinous assessment could easily be differentiation can nevertheless be discerned
stretched well into the eighteenth century. in English usage, as when Dr Johnson (1768)
Moreover, there never emerged any concept defined policy as: 1. The art of government,
A Conceptual History of Diplomacy 31

chiefly with respect to foreign powers. 2. Art; commented upon under the collective term
prudence; management of affairs; stratagem. diplomatica (such as in Mabillons De Re
The association of politics and policy with Diplomatica from 1681), which was also
matters relating to other powers was neverthe- used as a term for the science of establishing
less not complete; it would be more precise to the legitimacy of such documents.4 Since
argue that politics was in the process of being diplomas were regularly dealing with privi-
reconstituted as a sphere, a move which leges relating to other polities, it was but a
allowed for a specialised (and in principle small step to consider collections of treaties
spatialised) term like foreign policy to between princes in the same way, and in
emerge, which it did for the first time around 1693 Leibniz published Codex Juris Gentium
1730 in England, and some decades later in Diplomaticus and in 1726 Dumont Corps
France (Leira 2011). Thus, when the radical Universel Diplomatique du Droit de Gens.
enlightenment thinkers opposed the politics of These were collections both of treaties and
the absolutist states, they could direct their fire other official documents, but around this
both against politics in the wider sense and time corps diplomatique seems to have signi-
against foreign policy more specifically fied the corpus of texts defining international
(Gilbert 1951). But while ambassadors were law in practice (corps du droit des gens).
attacked as practitioners of politics, they were How the concept expanded to cover not
not yet named as a wider collective. only the total body of treaties, but also the total
body of those engaged in negotiating such
treaties, is unclear. What is clear is that, from
around the middle of the eighteenth century,
The etymology of diplomacy
corps diplomatique was also used to cover
The etymology of diplomacy is well known the totality of ministers accredited to one spe-
and referenced in etymological dictionaries, cific court. Pecquet (1737: 134) presents an
the OED and in a little more elaborated form understanding of the phenomenon, but with-
in Satow (1922: 23). A much richer, schol- out naming it, referring to it as Le Corps des
arly account is provided by Constantinou Ministres dans un Pas. Ranke (183336:
(1996: 7689). Very briefly, the term comes 724, note 1) dates the term to Vienna in the
from ancient Greek, where it was used as a mid-1750s, but without anything but anec-
verb (diploo) to designate double folding dotal evidence, and again referring to the
(diploun), and as a noun (diploma) to denote notion of a community, rather than the actual
official documents which were folded, and concept. A decade later, corps diplomatique
which gave the bearer a specific set of rights. was repeatedly used in Chevalier dons
Originally, diplomas functioned as some- (1764) published letters, in the sense of the
thing resembling modern passports, but grad- collective of ministers. The concept was also
ually, through the medieval era, the term was reiterated in original and translated form (as
used about any sort of document granting the diplomatic body) in English commen-
privileges. By the Renaissance, diploma was taries (and commentaries on commentaries)
used as the term for papal letters of appoint- the same year (Smollett 1764: 177).
ment, with the associated term diplomatarius Even so, usage was not consistent, and the
used to designate the clerk writing these reference to documents more common than
diplomas (Constantinou 1996: 78). Towards the reference to practitioners. In French dic-
the end of the seventeenth century, and par- tionaries, diplomatique can first be found
ticularly in the beginning of the eighteenth in the fourth edition of the Dictionnaire de
century, yet another usage emerged. Older lAcadmie Franaise (1762), but here only
letters of privilege (diploma) were being in the sense of the art of recognising true
scrutinised for authenticity, and collected and from false diplomas. This was also the case

in the great encyclopaedia, where the article early usage of the term by Burke (1796: 121,
on diplome & diplomatique (from 1754) note), who, in one of the first usages of the
deals solely with official documents and the concept in English, praised Louis XVI for
art and science of knowing true documents doing what he could to destroy the double
from false and interpreting their content diplomacy of France, that is, referring to the
(Diderot and dAlembert 2013). In the fifth parallel accreditations to the same ruler, with
edition of the Dictionnaire, from 1798, there opposing instructions, and their duplicitous
has been added a second meaning, where le practices thereon.
corps diplomatique is defined as a collec- To this we should add the following: being
tive term for the foreign ministers residing derived from the study of treaties, diplo-
in any one power. Turning to the 30-volume matic was strongly connected to issues of
Dictionnaire universel des sciences morale, alliance, war and peace (as these were the
conomique, politique et diplomatique; ou issues typically covered by treaties), and to the
Bibliotheque de lhomme-dtat et du citoyen, secrecy with which these treaties were most
published from 1776 and onwards, where dip- often associated. Furthermore, by its connec-
lomatic science is promised in the very title, tion with diploma, the term also had a strong
the results are similar.5 Corps diplomatique affinity with privilege. This affinity was made
was used intermittently, in the sense of a col- even stronger by the usage of diplomatic
lection of treaties and reports, and the science corps to designate the collective of ministers,
of diplomacy is related to the knowledge of a collective which was increasingly claiming
such treaties. None of diplomate, diploma- (and being accorded) a number of privileges
tie nor diplomatique were index words. (Anderson 1993: 54), and which was largely
constituted by the nobility, the foremost car-
riers of privilege. In sum, the term conveyed
specialisation, duplicity, secrecy, privilege
The emergence of diplomacy
and a fixation on war and alliance (see also
Etymological dictionaries provide a little Gilbert 1951, Frey and Frey 1993). From the
more insight, suggesting that diplomate and perspective of a broader conceptual history, it
diplomatie were derived from diploma- covered a number of the terms on the wrong
tique, on the pattern of aristocratique aris- side of the dualistic enlightenment scorecard
tocrate aristocratie (v. Wartburg 1934: 83).6 (Koselleck 1988), terms associated with poli-
From at least the 1770s, diplomatique was tics rather than morals (see also Chapter 10 in
used to describe the practice of envoys, as this Handbook).
when Linguet (1777: 383) discussed intrigues The association with the ways of the past
diplomatiques. The associated words diplo- was underscored in what would prove to be a
mate and diplomatie, dealing with interstate decisive conceptual break, the establishment
practice rather than documents, have their of the comit diplomatique of the French
origin in the revolutionary period (Imbs 1979). constitutional assembly in 1790 (on this, see
In the 1780s, diplomatique/diplomatic Martin 2012a). Tellingly, the first suggestion
was thus in a process of gradual change, of such a committee mentioned un comit
but still with multiple layers of meaning. politique, a committee dedicated to what we
As Constantinou (1996: 838) argues, the discussed above as the external component
connection with written diplomas suggests of politics, and not diplomacy. However,
a connection between a form of specialised naming was soon to change. There are a few
handicraft and statecraft, and the roots in the examples of diplomatique having been used
accrediting authority of diplomas and their to designate something other than documen-
(in)authenticity suggest a capacity for duplic- tary study before that date, but the establish-
ity, a capacity which was underscored in an ment of this committee brought together the
A Conceptual History of Diplomacy 33

practical question of checking the existing later, changes in usage had worked their way
treaties of the old regime, and the ongoing into dictionaries, with Webster (1817) defin-
desires for abandonment of the royal preroga- ing diplomacy as the customs or rules of
tive over external affairs. The committee was public ministers, forms of negotiation; body
established with the sole purpose of studying of ambassadors or envoys. Even so, diplo-
and evaluating treaties, but increasingly also matic still had the double meaning pertain-
dealt with the conduct of foreign affairs. In ing to diplomas, relating to public ministers.
what seems to have been a fairly rapid con- In French, diplomatie can be found
ceptual development, diplomatique came to for the first time in the fifth edition of the
cover not only the inspection of documents, Dictionnaire from 1798, where it is defined
but all activities falling within the purview of as Science des rapports, des intrts de
the comit diplomatique. Although the com- Puissance Puissance.7 Only in the sixth
mittee never had executive powers, as argued edition from 1835 are the actual people who
in the literature, it spawned debate about diplo- made the treaties and wrote the reports cov-
macy in both the national assembly and the ered by the term and, by this stage, diplo-
press, thus rapidly popularising the concept. matique was also considered as ordinarily
English usage seems to have been largely concerning matters related to diplomacy.
derivative of French usage. Thomas Paine Even though some conceptual uncertainty
(1792: 42), writing Rights of Man as a reply remained, the spread and uptake of the con-
to Burkes early criticism of the French revo- cept was rapid across enlightened Europe.
lution, referred to Benjamin Franklins work In German, it can be found at least as early
as minister to France arguing that it was of as 1795, again in relation to France, when
the diplomatic character, which forbids an article in Europische Annalen discussed
intercourse by a reciprocity of suspicion; Frankreichs diplomatie oder geschichte der
and a diplomatic is a sort of unconnected ffentlichen Meinung in Frankreich (Posselt
atom, continually repelling and repelled. 1795).8 The scepticism towards the concept
The genius of Franklin lay in his transcend- and its association with absolutism and aris-
ence of this role, He was not the diplomatic tocracy seems to have been a common fea-
of a court, but of MAN. Burkes later use of ture as well; at the Norwegian constitutional
diplomacy and related terms, as referenced assembly of 1814, representatives spoke
above, was likewise in texts dealing directly with scorn and admitted lack of knowledge
with the situation in France. In the diary of about the dimly-lit corridors of diplomacy
Gouverneur Morris (1888: 299), who was at and the cold and slippery ice of diplomacy
the time representing the US in France, the and politics (Leira 2011: 174, 177; see also
term likewise appears in 1797. Chapters 3 and 11 in this Handbook).
Considering its newness, it should come as
no surprise that the concept had yet to attain a
precise meaning. In Masons (1801) supple- Key Points
ment to Dr Johnsons dictionary, diplomatic
is, for example, defined as Privileged, based Before the eighteenth century there was no col-
on a traditional (if probably unintended) lective term for the activities of ambassadors
and envoys.
reading of Burke. As the previous discussion
Until the eighteenth century, relations between
of etymology has demonstrated, the connec- princes were seen as political; foreign policy was
tion was not far-fetched, and in 1805 another not established as a separate sphere before the
dictionary based on Dr Johnsons defined mid-century.
diplomatic as relating to diploma; which Diplomacy grew out of an etymological
is again defined as a letter or writing confer- background of treaties, duplicity, secrecy, and

ring some privilege (Perry 1805). A decade privilege.

Diplomacy first emerged during the French claimed that French diplomacy was simply
revolution, largely as a term of abuse, and spread la vrit, la libert,11 and demanded the sup-
rapidly across Europe. pression of the diplomatic committee (quoted
in Frey and Frey 1993: 716). From 1794,
there was an increased emphasis on trade
and science (Martin 2012b: 510), but the
NEW DIPLOMACY, NEWER complete abandonment of diplomacy proved
DIPLOMACY, NEWEST DIPLOMACY impossible for France at war. In the USA,
however, more could be done. Upon taking
Considering how the revolutionaries treated office, Thomas Jefferson abandoned half of
diplomacy as emblematic of most which the US missions, and would have wanted to
had been wrong in the past, it should come as cut the rest as well, claiming in 1804 that:
no surprise that an alternative was soon for-
mulated, indeed with Koselleck it could be I have ever considered diplomacy as the pest of the
world, as the workshop in which nearly all the
argued that contestation over the content of a
wars of Europe are manufactured. [] as we wish
new concept should be expected. Gaspard not to mix in the politics of Europe, but in her com-
Joseph Amand Ducher (1793: 75), who had merce only, Consuls would do all the business we
worked as an ancien rgime consul in the ought to have there quite as well as ministers.
USA, and was writing about external affairs (quoted in Gilbert 1951: 31, note 92)
for the revolutionary government, in 1793
called for a Nouvelle diplomatie basically Calls for a new diplomacy would persist,
concerned with commercial matters and but a departure from the past need not be
desires for direct trade. He argued that French associated with trade; it was also noted some
foreign affairs should solely deal with exter- decades later (Cuvier 1829: 7) how France
nal trade, and that politics should simply be had sent out her scientific ambassadors to all
the extension of commerce. Thus there would quarters, and war itself has not interrupted
be no need for the former secrecy or noble this new diplomacy. The association
privileges, the new ministers of France were between regular diplomacy and war never-
to be ni marquis, ni intrigans,9 and where theless persisted, and the distinction between
the treaties of old diplomacy had simply been an old, political diplomacy and a new diplo-
giving titles to the royal family, the French macy, focused on trade, was maintained as a
family (i.e. the French nation) would guaran- liberal critique throughout the nineteenth
tee itself (Ducher 1793: 74). The new diplo- century, as when Thorold Rogers argued
macy would be simpler, fairer and cheaper (1866: 496) that:
than the old one, where the diplomats had The ancient habits and instincts of political diplo-
been like priests, with their doctrines relating macy are silently or noisily wearing out or passing
to the true relations of the peoples in the away, and a new diplomacy of commerce, assum-
same way as theology related to morals ing for a time the guise of formal treaties, is occu-
pying no small part of the ground once assigned to
(Ducher 1794: 23). What this opposed was
labours which were called into activity by distrust,
not only the previous practice of French dip- and effected their purpose by intrigue.
lomats, but also the current practice of the
enemy: in the hands of Pitt, diplomacy had The newness of new diplomacy was, how-
become la science des trahisons & de la ever, not restricted to trade and science; it
guerre civile (Ducher 1794: 23).10 was also used by liberal promoters of impe-
Duchers call for a new diplomacy echoed rialist ventures. Towards the end of the
the general dissatisfaction with diplomacy, century, this combination took another
and for many the solution was simply to form, when Joseph Chamberlain argued for
abolish the whole thing, as when Saint-Andr a new diplomacy, characterised by
A Conceptual History of Diplomacy 35

openness towards the public, in dealings be founded (Reinsch 1909: 14). This, he
with the Boers. argued, was leading diplomacy to gradually
The combination of liberal critique, open- lose its association with shrewdness, schem-
ness and expansion was evident in American ing, and chicane, and to the rise of a:
debate at the same time as well, as when an
unnamed American diplomat addressed the new diplomacy [which] makes its main purpose
the establishment of a basis for frank cooperation
public and noted that the new diplomacy:
among the nations in order that, through common
action, advantages may be obtained which no
is as old as the United States [] A European dip-
isolated state could command if relying merely on
lomat works by intrigue and dissimulation [] The
its own resources.
American diplomacy has always been the reverse
of this. We ask for what we want, and insist upon
it. [] The new diplomacy, in the popular mean- All of the above ideas fed into the intellectual
ing of the word, is not diplomacy at all. It is simply debates about the Great War, leading to the
knowing what we want, fearlessly saying it and repeated rejection of the old diplomacy and
insisting upon it with a disregard for conse-
the hopes and promises of a new diplomacy
quences. (Los Angeles Herald, 1898)
in 191820. The extent to which this was
Again, the rejection of what had previously achieved need not concern us here, the central
been known as diplomacy, and which relied point being that once again an international
on intrigue and dissimulation, is obvious. practice celebrated by its opposition to the
The feeling that there was something inher- diplomacy of old was being put forward
ently American was echoed by government diplomacy was in essence defined by its
officials as well: The discovery of America flaws and failures, by its secrecy and its fail-
opened up a new world; the independence of ure to avoid war. The new diplomacy, how-
the United States a new diplomacy (Scott ever, promised peace and co-operation.
1909: 3). Secretary of State Elihu Root (Root The failure of the League of Nations and
1907: 113) stressed the historical develop- the Second World War was to change the
ment more than the uniqueness of America: valuation of diplomacy, over time completely
transforming the conceptual grid around it.
There was a time when the official intercourse Where diplomacy had for 150 years been seen
between nations which we call diplomacy con- as related to war and as the opposite of true
sisted chiefly of bargaining and largely of cheating co-operation, it gradually became defined as
in the bargain. Diplomacy now consists chiefly in the opposite of war, and as the prime mecha-
making national conduct conform, or appear to
conform, to the rules which codify, embody and nism of co-operation. While there have been
apply certain moral standards evolved and repeated discussions of new diplomacy in
accepted in the slow development of civilization. the decades following the war (e.g. Graud
1945, Butterfield 1966, Sofer 1988, Riordan
And from politics, the term found its way 2003), the newness has been associated with
into academe. Paul Reinsch, one of the fore- evolution rather than revolution; with gradual
runners of what would become the discipline changes in the means, methods and content
of International Relations, writing in 1909 of diplomacy, rather than the wholesale rejec-
contrasted the old kinds of treaties, with the tion of traditional practice.
purpose being conciliation and compromise The revaluation of diplomacy has not only
of conflicting interests, in essence exercises implied that the calls for its abandonment
in balancing and marginal gains, with the have disappeared. On the contrary, defined as
new economic treaties seeking to find a the opposite of hostile conflict and as asso-
basis for cooperation, an essential equality of ciated with expert skill in negotiation and
interests between all the nations upon which the mediation of difference, diplomacy has
permanent international arrangements may become not only a growth-business, but also

a growth-concept. More and more practices diplomacy is relatively modern. Considering

are latching on to diplomacy as something to how diplomacy is currently regularly
emulate, and in effect we are seeing the emer- defined through a set of practices (e.g. com-
gence of composite diplomacy (or perhaps munication, representation, negotiation), it is
hyphen-diplomacy), where new actors, noteworthy how the actual concept has its
arenas, topics and forms of interaction are roots not in practice as such, but in the mate-
claiming diplomacy for themselves or being rial results of practice; in privilege rather than
claimed by diplomacy. Diplomacy is now in parity.
associated with units above, below and par- Situated in a conceptual web undergoing
allel to the state; with supra-national organi- rapid development in the decades around
sations, regions and cities, multi-national 1800, the newness of diplomacy illustrates
corporations and rebel groups, to name but well how the very conceptualisation of rela-
a few. Likewise, diplomacy is described as tions between political entities was changing,
taking place not only in the traditional arenas and how this new naming was part and parcel
of state-to-state interaction, but in individual of the domestic struggles over political power.
lives, families, public spheres and business, Never before named as a collective practice
again to name a few. The list of topics con- with specific content, diplomacy became
nected with diplomacy is limited primarily one of the key pejorative terms associated
by the imagination, but special attention has with the ancien rgime, defined by its oppo-
been paid to sports and health. As for modali- nents and by virtue of all that had been wrong
ties, an emphasis on citizens hails back to with how external affairs were handled. It
earlier hopes for a new diplomacy, and this clearly matters that there was no established
can also be said for the emphasis on new term for diplomacy until it arose as a deroga-
media and public diplomacy witnessed over tory label. Whereas the earlier titles in use
the last decade (see further Chapters 35, 36, (like ambassador or envoy) were descriptive
39, 41, 42, 43 and 44 in this Handbook). terms, the concept of diplomacy was evalu-
ative, and strongly negative, leading to the
almost immediate call for something else to
Key Points supersede it, namely new diplomacy.
The negative associations of diplomacy
Calls for a new diplomacy, centred on trade,
would persist for a century and a half, only
instead of the old diplomacy of intrigue and
politics, arose almost as soon as the concept had abating with its gradual disassociation from
been coined. war and coupling with co-operation. In
More radical critics have wanted to abolish diplo- current parlance, diplomacy is no longer
macy altogether. to be exchanged for a new diplomacy,
Around 1900, new diplomacy became more rather the old version is to be upgraded to
associated with openness and co-operation. diplomacy 2.0.
After the world wars, diplomacy was largely
re-evaluated as a vehicle for peace and co-
operation, with calls for new diplomacy now
focusing on evolution and reform, rather than
revolution and abandonment. NOTES

1 Thanks for comments on an earlier draft are

due to the editors, Benjamin de Carvalho, Iver
CONCLUSION B. Neumann, Ole Jacob Sending, Minda Holm,
Morten Skumsrud Andersen, Mateja Peter, Kari
Osland, Cedric de Coning, Bjrnar Sverdrup-
Although the etymological root and many of Thygeson and Pernille Rieker. The usual dis-
the associated practices are old, the concept of claimer applies.
A Conceptual History of Diplomacy 37

2 For etymological reasons, the discussion below Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal (April
deals not only with diplomacy, but also, when October): 114.
appropriate, with diplomatic. The discussion is dEon, Chevalier (Charles Genevive Louis
also limited to English and French language, a Auguste Andr Timothe d Eon de Beau-
limitation which is justified both by the centrality
mont) (1764) Lettres, mmoires & ngocia-
of France, Britain and the US to political and con-
ceptual innovation in the eighteenth and nine-
tions particulires du chevalier don, Ministre
teenth centuries and by the importance of these Plnipotentiaire de France Aupres Du Roi de
countries to the admittedly Eurocentric theory la Grande Bretagne. London: Dixwell.
and practice of diplomacy (Neumann 2012). Dictionnaire de lAcadmie franaise 4th edn
3 Political philosophy is one that teaches men how (1762) Diplomatique, [online], http://art-
to behave with prudence, either at the head of a
state or at the head of a family.
4 The term diplomatics, referring to the study of headword=&docyear=ALL&dicoid=ALL
documents, retains this meaning. [accessed 1 August 2014].
5 All volumes can be searched on
Diderot, Denis and Jean le Rond dAlembert
6 Considering how aristocracy was itself changing
from a neutral descriptor to a derogatory politi-
(eds) (2013) Encyclopdie, ou dictionnaire
cal term over the second half of the eighteenth raisonn des sciences, des arts et des mtiers,
century, it was hardly coincidental that the terms etc., Robert Morrissey (ed.). Chicago, IL: Uni-
related to diplomacy followed this particular versity of Chicago. ARTFL Encyclopdie Pro-
pattern. ject (Spring 2013 edition), [online], http://
7 The science of reports on the interests between
powers. Ducher, Gaspard Joseph Amand (1793) Acte de
8 French diplomacy, or the history of public opin- navigation, avec ses rapports au commerce,
ion in France. aux finances, la nouvelle diplomatie des
9 Neither marquis [that is noble] nor making
Franais. Partie 1. Paris: Impr. Nationale.
10 The science of betrayal and war.
Ducher, Gaspard Joseph Amand (1794) Acte de
11 The truth, liberty. navigation, avec ses rapports au commerce,
aux finances, la nouvelle diplomatie des
Franais. Partie 2 Paris: Impr. Nationale.
Frey, Linda and Marsha Frey (1993) The Reign
of the Charlatans Is Over: The French Revo-
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Diplomacy and the Colonial
Sam Okoth Opondo

Europe is literally the creation of the Third World what it is not (Plischke, 1979: 28). Implied
So when we hear the head of a European state in Plischkes exploration is an acknowledge-
declare with his hand on his heart that he must
ment of the subjective and even inter-
come to the aid of the poor underdeveloped peo-
ples, we do not tremble with gratitude. Quite the subjective dimensions of diplomacy and the
contrary; we say to ourselves: Its a just reparation entangled discourses and worlds that enframe
which will be paid to us. (Frantz Fanon, The those who practise diplomacy or are consid-
Wretched of the Earth, p.102) ered capable of being diplomatic in the first
place. The stakes of this search for the mean-
ings of diplomacy are raised when he calls
for us to distinguish diplomacy from other
MODERN DIPLOMACY AND/AS concepts including foreign relations, foreign
COLONIAL APPARATUS policy, various specific aspects of diplomatic
practice, individual diplomatic functions
The term diplomacy, Elmer Plischke tells such as negotiation and the like.
us, has many meanings and tends to be Plischke is not alone in this quest for a
defined by the individual user to suit his par- clearer and less messy conception of diplo-
ticular purposes. In this quest for diplomatic macy. Jos Calvet De Magalhes, a retired
meaning and the meanings of diplomacy, Portuguese ambassador and author of The
Plischke suggests that we seek diplomacys Pure Concept of Diplomacy, calls for a more
etymological, lexicographical, theoretical, precise definition of diplomacy and hav-
functional, and academic interpretations and ing defined diplomacy, it becomes possible
goes ahead to propose a method of refine- for him to identify a pure diplomat while
ment that may be both positive, denoting providing a sense of diplomatic pathology
what diplomacy is, and negative, determining (backchannel diplomacy, combat diplomacy,

diplomatic intelligence and counter intelli- highlight the entangled and darker side of
gence) (Magalhes, 1988: 60, 71, 79). It is diplomacy. Taking the entanglement and
important to note that concept of pure diplo- coeval emergence of modern diplomatic and
macy articulated by De Magalhes is for the colonial worlds as its starting point, this chap-
most part derived from partial histories and ter explores the violence of recognition/non-
genealogies of diplomacy as well as a limited recognition that makes modern diplomacy
conception of the diplomatic world. possible and its relationship to the colonial-
If we take the work of De Magalhes and ity of power. Through a series of contrapuntal
some of his interlocutors seriously, it becomes readings of diplomatic and colonial encoun-
clear that a concept or history of diplomacy ters, the chapter carries out a simultaneous
that does not acknowledge the pluricen- narration of metropolitan diplomatic history
tric, contested and continuously negotiated and those other histories, subjects and prac-
character of diplomacy produces an idea of tices against which (and together with which)
diplomacy that is essentially Eurocentric and, this dominating discourse works (Said, 1993:
when viewed from the perspective of colo- 51). Such a comparative study of diplomacy
nized others, anti-diplomatic. For instance, departs from a concern with non-European
Harold Nicolson attempts to sanitize the his- cultures of diplomacy that locates them in
tory of the old diplomacy by acknowledg- another time as part of the beginnings of
ing that the mistakes, follies and the crimes diplomacy (Numelin, 1950) or those that
of diplomacy that took place during the era consider modern diplomacy to be the rela-
of the old diplomacy can be traced to evil tively narrow and applied body of knowledge
foreign policy rather than to faulty meth- pertaining to the right conduct of professional
ods of negotiation (Nicolson, 1979: 43). diplomats in their relations with one another
According to Nicolson, the theory and prac- and other servants of the states to which they
tice of international negotiation originated by are accredited (Satow, 1957; Sharp, 2009: 7).
Richelieu, analyzed by Callieres and adopted Doubtless, attempts at placing statecraft in
by European countries during the three cen- a historical perspective or the theorizing of
turies that preceded the change of 1919 was diplomatic essences and common sense has
the method best adapted for the conduct of enabled diplomatic theorists and historians to
relations between civilized states. Not only look at practices of statecraft in non-Western
did it regard Europe as the most important of texts like the Arthaastra and the Armana
all the continents, other continents, namely letters. However, fidelity to Eurocentric and
Asia and Africa were viewed as areas of disciplinary categories means that Kautilya
imperial, commercial or missionary expan- is referred to as the Indian Machiavelli
sion. Accordingly, the old diplomacy was (Gowen, 1929) while the 3,000 year old
concerned with great powers and the fact Egyptian correspondence is incorporated into
that they had a shared diplomatic culture and a preexisting idea of diplomacy that consid-
desired the same sort of world character- ers it to be the beginning of International
ized by continuous and confidential negotia- Relations (Cohen and Westbrook, 2000).
tion (Nicolson, 1979: 45). Combined with the These extensions of an already formed idea
fact that European states had wider responsi- of diplomatic history and theory beyond the
bilities, and above all, more money and more West present us with alternative (diplomatic)
guns, they also had the right to intervene in histories rather than alternatives to hegemonic
the affairs of smaller powers for the the pres- (diplomatic) history (Nandy, 1995: 53).
ervation of peace (Nicolson, 1979). Heeding insights from James Der Derians
In contrast to the above articulations or (1987) genealogical study of the media-
quest for a moral and pure concept of mod- tion of Western estrangement and Costas
ern diplomacy, the following explorations M. Constantinous (1996) re-reading and
Diplomacy and the Colonial Encounter 41

rewriting of the theme of diplomacy by relat- Acknowledging that diplomacy is a cultur-

ing it to the crafts of the double hand (the pro- ally biased game, and the bias is Western,
cess of doubling), the following exploration Neumann concludes that diplomacy has
is also a meta-diplomatic quest that interro- proven itself as a global institution, one that
gates modern diplomacys claims of origi- has proven to be able to adapt to challenges
nality, truth and, finality by taking seriously such as revolutions and decolonizations
the place of the colonial/colonized other (Neumann, 2010: 144).
(Constantinou, 1996: 84; Der Derian, 1987). However, acknowledging and then locating
Not only does this enable us to raise questions modern diplomacys colonial and Eurocentric
about the conditions under which colonized logics in a past that we have since surmounted
subjects and peoples are considered diplo- is not an innocent practice. At a minimum, it
matic or non-diplomatic and the differential endorses a moral project that makes distinc-
treatment accorded to peoples or places that tions between modern diplomacy and colo-
were considered external to the European dip- nialism while failing to acknowledge the
lomatic milieu, it highlights the relationship coloniality of modern diplomacy. This means
between discourses on diplomatic negotiation that the long-standing patterns of power that
and their related colonial and race-mediated emerged as a result of colonialism, but that
forms of negation that present the human and define culture, labor, inter-subjective rela-
political experience of non-European peoples tions, and knowledge production well beyond
as something that can only be understood in the strict limits of colonial administrations
terms of an absence or a negative interpre- remain unquestioned (Maldonado-Torres,
tation thus giving way to colonial violence 2007: 2434). In addition to illustrating that
and governance, missionary conversion the structure of diplomacy is both the struc-
and present-day postcolonial intervention ture of Western metaphysical thought and
(Mbembe, 2001: 1; Mignolo, 2001). the structure of representation, this chapter
The reading of the co-constitutive ele- traces and questions the coloniality of diplo-
ments of modernity and coloniality, diplo- macy (Constantinou, 1996: 103). It illustrates
macy and colonialism, and the estrangement that the diplomatic/colonial structure is found
and mediation that accompanies these pro- in places beyond the West given that the
jects, departs from texts that disavow these West, as Edouard Glissant asserts, is not in
entanglements. While Nicolson and De the West. It is a project, not a place that was
Magalhes might not acknowledge the entan- reshaped by the entanglements of diplomacy
glements between Eurocentrism, diplomacy and modernity/coloniality (Glissant, 1992:
and colonialism, critical diplomatic theorists 2). That is, one recognizes that beyond the
like Iver B. Neumann note that the historical cultures and institutions it propagates, mod-
preconditions for diplomacy and the way it ern diplomacy, as a way of being, seeks to
operates as a social practice through conven- maintain this metaphysical space, to direct
tions of immunity, permanent representation this global stage and to continuously sustain
and the corps diplomatique reveals contem- its fictions. Not only does it develop what
porary diplomacys Christian myths and its Constantinou refers to as an elaborate techne
Eurocentrism. However, Neumann maintains of diplomacy, which involves the fiction of
that these sociabilities have spread to third the sovereign subject, the fiction of the repre-
parties and third parties use them for their sentative agent, the fiction of the instrumental
own interaction in transformed and hybrid- object, the fiction of the specialized process,
ized forms such that diplomacy remains a modern diplomacy is also a techne of colo-
public good, meaning that we should not niality (Constantinou, 1996: 103). A techne
care too much about Eurocentrism at the level that encounters, recognizes, represents
of diplomacy itself (Neumann, 2010: 128). and inserts or abjects foreign practices and

peoples into a diplomatic milieu that is con- of raison dtat exemplified by his dealings
stantly being invented and reinvented accord- with the Huguenots and the call for religious
ing to the grids of colonial difference (see tolerance during the Thirty Years War, he is
also chapters 1, 2 and 11 in this Handbook). also lauded in texts like Henry Kissingers
Diplomacy (1994), where he is presented as
the promulgator of modern statecraft who
Key Points replaced the medieval principle of universal
moral values with the more rational princi-
The decolonial project engages practices of ple predicated on the pursuit of the state
transculturation that make it possible for us rather than religious interests (Kissinger
to read as diplomatic and ultimately political a 1994: 58). Given that Richelieu made the
whole range of colonial/colonized peoples, sites
case for France to have a broad network of
and mediation practices or forms of estrangement
diplomatic agents who negotiate ceaselessly,
that are trivialized, erased or silenced by modern/
colonial regimes of recognition and intelligibility. either openly or secretly, and in all places,
It recognizes an array of colonial modes and even in those from which no present fruits
modalities that exist parallel to diplomacy com- are reaped, his Testament Politique is con-
plementing or competing with the regular foreign tinuously invoked within diplomatic circles
policy of the government (Cornago, 2010: 94). in order to emphasize the strategic impor-
These para-diplomatic mediations make it diffi- tance and ethics of continuous negotiation
cult for one to proclaim a new diplomacy at the (Richelieu/Hill, 1989: 94; Berridge et al.,
moment of formal decolonization or to have a 2001: 94). Beyond formal diplomatic circles,
moralized idea of diplomacy predicated on inat- Richelieu also found a place within the popu-
tentiveness to the coeval emergence of modern
lar and literary imagination through
diplomacy and colonial worlds and the colonial
Alexandre Dumas swashbuckler novel, The
spectres that continue to haunt the diplomatic
present (Mamdani, 1984: 1048). Three Musketeers (1844), where Richelieus
It explores the diplomacycolonialism nexus by crafty handling of personal matters and mat-
engaging the disavowal of colonial diplomacies, ters of state is at the centre of intra-European
diplomatic colonialism and the coloniality of diplomatic, religious and romantic intrigues.
diplomacy within official narratives of colonial- While the image of Richelieu as a com-
ism and dominant treatments of diplomacy. mitted advocate of the reason of state is often
considered proto-diplomatic such that mod-
ern diplomacy comes to be read as a dialogue
between states, a different story and idea of
COEVAL PRODUCTION OF COLONIAL diplomacy and modernity emerges when we
AND DIPLOMATIC MAN engage the world of Richelieu and modernity
from spaces other than the self-contained and
To mark the entanglements of colonial and self-referential Europe of the Thirty Years
diplomatic worlds and the coloniality of War or the religious accommodation that
diplomacy, we can turn to Armand-Jean du he is well known for. Treated in this way,
Plessis (15851642), commonly referred to Richelieus settlement of the religious ques-
as Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister of tion in France, and the said move from medi-
Frances Louis XIII. As a key figure in eval universalism and religious orthodoxy, is
modern diplomacy, Richelieus diplomatic read alongside the religion-mediated colonial
ventures are an especially apt vehicle for unsettlement of other religions in Africa, Asia
thinking about the techne of diplomacy and and the Americas, where the universalist and
the colonial worlds it produced (and those colonial side of Richelieus career and the
that produced it). Not only is Richelieu rec- civilizational aspects of the modern state and
ognized as a key proponent of the principle the darker side of diplomacy are constantly
Diplomacy and the Colonial Encounter 43

revealed and contested. On the literary front, initial failures, contributed to the colonial
the fictional Richelieu of Alexandre Dumas imaginary that enabled France to establish
The Three Musketeers is read alongside the links with, and eventually govern, parts of
larger world of Georges, an earlier Dumas Africa, North America, the Antilles and Asia:
novel set in Mauritius (Ile de France), where
The Compaignie du Morbihan, founded for the
the literary and geographical space is popu- trade with Canada, the West Indies, Russia and the
lated with Yoloffs, Mozambicans, Malgaches North Compaignie de la Naceelle de St. Pierre
and Anjoun slaves from the Comoros Islands Fleuredelysee, which succeeded it and took almost
as well as Chinese traders, French settlers and the world for its province The Compaignie des
Cents Associes, for Canada alone, collapsed for
British colonial governors/diplomats (Sollors,
lack of funds. The Compaignie des Iles dAmerique,
2007: xvixvii). With the protagonist Georges although it secured for France the Islands of St.
Munier moving between worlds and rebel- Kitts and San Domingo, dragged on a bankrupt
ling slaves making reference to the Haitian existence until it was liquidated in 1651. Numerous
Revolution, Dumas offers a wider and wilder African companies were equally unfortunate. The
East India Company staggered through its early
picture of diplomacy and colonialism where
years, but with all its achievements far in the
race, slavery and estrangement are negotiated future. The fundamental mistake in the constitu-
and negated in a manner that resonates with tion of all these companies was the excess of
Frantz Fanons analysis of the psychopathol- government interference Yet, the initial energy
ogy of oppression and the possibilities of a was not lacking. An embassy pushed as far as
Moscow. French ships reached the East and West
critical humanism (Fanon, 1967). In this his-
Indies, explored the St. Lawrence, took possession
torical novel, Dumas offers glimpses into his of Madagascar. (Wedgwood, 1954: 13940)
own family history (Dumas is the grandson of
a slave from Saint Domingue) while reveal- In addition to the above economic interests,
ing the world that created and was created diplomatic representation merged with colo-
by French colonial ventures of which he is a nial governance such that the principle of
product (Martone, 2011). Not only does such continuous negotiation was transformed into
a contrapuntal reading of Richelieu call for practices of negation and conversion. Unlike
a consideration of the other worlds that his the equally violent colonial expansion of
diplomatic theory and practice is implicated England where New England represented the
in, it is also a call for thinking about modern withdrawal from the authority of the estab-
diplomacy from the perspective of the colo- lished church of England, Richelieus diplo-
nial logics that it is entangled with and the matic vision and theory of state transformed
dynamics of race, capitalism and violence colonial spaces like New France into an
that constitute modern diplomatic distinction. expensive mission or another outpost of the
For instance, the names and ventures of French Church where Huguenots were not
numerous colonization and trading compa- allowed and Jesuit missionaries were consid-
nies associated with Richelieu point to the ered agents of God, the church and the state
colonial ambitions of this revered diplomatic (Wedgwood, 1954: 141).
figure such that his diplomatic dictum of hav- The Jesuit missionaries work among the
ing agents in all places, even in those from Hurons and Algonquins are well documented
which no present fruits are reaped becomes in the annual ethnographic/diplomatic/mis-
part of colonial venture, where representatives siological report Jesuit Relations (Dablen
of the state or state-sanctioned agencies nego- and Marquette, 1891). In the second chapter
tiate, enter into agreements and even govern of Volume XXIII of the Jesuit Relations of
foreign peoples on behalf of the French state 1643 (appropriately titled Of The House Or
and the Catholic Church. C.V. Wedgwood has Permanent Residence of Sainte Marie), the
excellently documented how Richelieus eco- missionaries note that the new language of
nomic and diplomatic policies, despite their conversion of the savages requires of them

to be both master and pupil at the same time. with the related questions of race, the state,
The representational force of these dispatches diplomacy, colonialism and the governance
meant that practices like the Iroquois mourn- of natives. In short, the modern diplomatic
ing wars were subjected to European and question, much like the colonial question,
Christian grids of interpretation that focused becomes a question of the genres of the
on the brutality of the war while overlook- human and the mediation of human and
ing other mediation capacities of this prac- civilization estrangement (Wynter, 2003:
tice among the Five Nations (Richter, 1983; 2878).
Shannon, 2008). Like Richelieu, the Jesuits It was precisely this question of the gen-
considered the French colony a foundational res of man that was at the centre of the
site of conversion and an efficacious way of sixteenth-century dispute between the mis-
procuring the salvation of indigenous people sionary priest, Bartolom de Las Casas and
(Dablen and Marquette, 1891: 271). Given Gins de Seplveda, the humanist royal
that Richelieu had allowed the Jesuits to act historian and apologist for the Spanish set-
as negotiators in the fur trade and granted tlers of then Santo Domingo (Wynter, 2003:
them the monopoly on missionary work in 2878). This modern question borne out of
New France, the Jesuits received news of his the colonial encounter freed European diplo-
death with great sorrow while acknowledg- matic relations from their exclusive Christian
ing the relationships between old diploma- and European milieus by presenting a new set
cies and new world ventures, for besides the of objects and subjects in need of diplomatic/
care that he [Richelieu] had for old France, colonial mediation (Der Derian, 1987: 101).
he was not forgetful of the new (Dablen and With the discovery of the Americas and the
Marquette, 1891). enslavement of black Africans, a different
While often read as a theory of state, the classificatory and hierarchical system was
double anthropology that Richelieu and devised so as to provide the grammar and
the Jesuits represent in their dealing with technics appropriate to dealing with a world
old and new worlds deploys a theory of where otherness exceeded the familiar cat-
diplomacy and colonialism that simultane- egories of a Christian Europe cohabiting with
ously pursues the interests of the state and or working against Muslims, Moors, Jews
universal ideals while producing cultural and Turks (Mignolo, 2006: 17).
and colonial difference. Thus, the colonial/ In addition to providing a context for the
diplomatic encounter, as a form of man- emergence of Eurocentrism as a concep-
craft articulates descriptive statements of tual and political reality, the conquest of
the human that were central to the evange- the Americas transformed the periphery
lizing mission of the Church, the expan- into the repository of material and symbolic
sion of the zones and content of diplomatic commodities, thus radically transforming
representation and the governance-oriented the economies and cultures of Europe includ-
imperializing mission of the state based ing the notions of rights and some of the
on its territorial expansion and conquest conventions of the old diplomacy (Dussel,
(Wynter, 2003: 286). According to Sylvia 1981: 15; Moraa etal., 2008: 4). Emerging
Wynter, the visions of Man and the idea from these ethnologies and inventions of dip-
of order that emanated from it was the basis lomatic and colonial man is the will-to-con-
of the coloniality of being that manifested vert, save or govern rather than converse with
itself in the relation between Man over- the non-European other as well as the desire
represented as the generic, ostensibly supra- for diplomatic and colonial objects that con-
cultural human and its subjugated Human tinues to haunt the present. While Las Casas
Others (i.e. Indians and Negroes) and was was overly concerned with the human status
a foundational basis of modernity complete of the Indian, other Spanish colonialists
Diplomacy and the Colonial Encounter 45

like Cortes failed to recognize the diplo- Pope in the Vatican but they were denied
matic and human agency of the Indigenous free passage and detained as they stepped
Americans and were more concerned with off the boat in Lisbon (Hochschild, 1999:
the objects that they produced. Writing about 14). The enslavement and colonization of
the Conquest of America, Tzvetan Todorov the Kongo is not an isolated event. It is part
notes that Cortes goes into ecstasies about of a structure and meta-discourse through
the Aztec productions but does not acknowl- which Africans came face to face with the
edge their makers as human individualities to opaque and murky domain of power where
be set on the same level as himself (Todorov, they, like other colonized peoples, had to
1999: 129). This leads him and other Spanish negotiate or contest the problem of free-
authors to speak well of the Indians, but dom from servitude and the possibility of
with very few exceptions they do not speak an autonomous African subject (Mbembe,
to the Indians (Todorov, 1999: 132). The 2001: 14).
non-recognition of humans and recogni- As illustrated above, the new world
tion and desire for objects transformed the engagements by icons of the old diplomacy
idea of diplomatic agency, conceptions of like Richelieu and Bartolom de Las Casas
fellowship and the rights and obligations of reveal the coloniality of diplomacy. Given
European and non-European peoples by cre- the diplomatic innovations that accompanied
ating a law of inviolability within which the colonial ventures and vice versa, colonial
Spanish were considered the ambassadors subjects and spaces of colonial mediation
of Christian peoples in the new world while like Haiti or the Kongo become potent sites
the Indians were bound to give them free for reflection on the transformation in mod-
passage and a friendly hearing (Der Derian, ern diplomacys ethical, geopolitical and
1987: 101). ontological referents (see also Chapters 8, 52
With culture as a privileged site for the and 53 in this Handbook).
mediation of metropolitan and colonial dif-
ference, the conversion and use of indig-
enous peoples, slaves, things and colonial Key Points
spaces in the pursuit of profit, the interests
of the state and narratives of the human was The colonies were the site of diplomatic imagi-
nation and designs where frontiers were con-
legitimized. For instance, the large number
structed not only in geographical terms but also
of slaves taken by the Portuguese to work in in terms of the boundaries of humanity (Mignolo,
Brazil after their encounter with the Kongo 1995: viiixi).
kingdom (Mbanza Kongo) in Africa led the The invention and articulation of the genres
ManiKongo (ruler) Nzinga Mbemba Affonso of man as evinced by the idea of diplomatic
I, a convert to Christianity and a selective man, colonial man and the human in general
modernizer, to write numerous letters to his meant that diplomatic encounters with non-
brother King Joao III of Portugal. In his European others were quickly transformed into
letters of 1526, Affonso I protests the depop- some form of colonial governance through the
ulation of his country arising from the kid- non-recognition of indigenous diplomatic agents,
napping of his free subjects, sons of nobles denigration of gods and reneging on treaties as
well as the conversion of a people and a space
and vassals and even people of his own
into something familiar and governable.
family. He goes on to state that the kingdom The modern diplomatic mediation of difference
only needs priests and schoolteachers and is entangled with the mediation of colonial
no merchandise unless it is wine and flour difference. These entanglements play out in
for mass (Hochschild, 1999: 13). Besides spectral spaces where global designs have to
pleading to his fellow sovereign, Affonso be adapted, adopted, rejected, integrated, or
I also attempted to send emissaries to the ignored (Mignolo, 1995: viiixi).

COLONIES, POLITIES, EMBASSIES Domingue, this pluralistic popular religion

became an important organizational tool
Nowhere is the entanglement of genres of for resistance and mediated the slave insur-
man, colonial difference, the diplomatic gencies led by voodoo priests and Maroon
order and a radical quest for autonomous leaders like Francois Makandal (Fick, 1990:
human subjectivity clearer than in Saint- 589). Through the symbolic and strate-
Domingue (Haiti). Not only was Hispaniola gic facilitation of secret meetings, as well
(present day Haiti and the Dominican as the initiation and adherence of slaves
Republic) the earliest site of the European of diverse origins, voodoo provided a
conquest of the Americas, the island also matrix of communing and communication
provided the context for Las Casas reflec- among the slaves in different plantations
tion on the possibilities for more humane and helped create a network of slaves who
encounters between the Spanish and Indians gathered clandestinely to participate in the
after witnessing the suffering of the indige- ceremonies, and secured the pledge of soli-
nous Taino population. Ironically, Las Casas darity and secrecy of those involved in plots
advocated for the importation of African against the masters (Fick, 1990: 589). In
slaves to save the brutalized indigenous later years, voodoo was part of the imagi-
population and years of Spanish and French nary in the popular slave insurgencies and
colonialism and slavery on the island trans- intersected with the 17911804 Haitian rev-
formed Saint-Domingue into the most profit- olution led by Toussaint Louverture and his
able slave colony in the world, receiving black officers, Henri Christophe, Mose and
thousands of slaves from the West African Jean-Jacques Dessaline, which challenged
coast and the Kingdom of Kongo (Dubois, and eventually overthrew French imperial
2005: 15; Thornton, 1993). authority and the system of racial inequality
Hailing from different parts of Africa, and set out to abolish the existence of slav-
and speaking in mutually unintelligible lan- ery itself.
guages or believing in diverse religions, the In order to avoid exoticizing or occiden-
Africans of Saint-Domingue mediated the talizing the Haitian revolution, we must read
estrangement caused by their collective it as both an anti-colonial, anti-diplomatic
experience of slavery through Haitian cre- and diplomatic event. As an anti-colonial
ole/kreyl, a language of survival, and transcultural and planetary formation, the
hybrid religions like Haitian voodoo, which, revolution created a space where France,
for all its African sources and resonances, the Americans, Spaniards and British could
was a product of the cross-cultural encoun- no longer send commissioners to speak to
ters that were part of the plantation economy Toussaint but had to send charges daffaires
(Farmer, 2006: 156). As Carolyn Fick illus- and ambassadors as their representatives
trates in her study of popular movements (James, 1989: 266). As an anti-diplomatic
and popular mentalities in revolutionary innovation, the Haitian revolution high-
eighteenth-century Santa Domingue, voo- lighted what C.L.R. James calls the sad
doo incorporated rituals from various parts irony of human history as it revealed that
of Africa, such as the Congolese chants, the French revolution was a bourgeois revo-
which were then inserted into a broader lution, and the basis of bourgeois wealth
religious structure complete with its own was the slave trade and the slave plantations
rules, procedures, hierarchy, and general in the colonies (James, 1939: 339). The
principles. With Dahomean Voodoo serv- Haitian revolution also revealed that the cor-
ing as an existing substructure for diverse relative idea of emancipation and diplomacy
religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions that emerged from the French conception
of the diverse African nations in Santa of the French Revolution was Eurocentric,
Diplomacy and the Colonial Encounter 47

racial and colonial, especially when it was for the subjects/objects of Saint Domingue
extended to spaces like Saint Domingue who, up until then, had been subjected to
where its concept of rights excluded colonial the anti-diplomacies of slavery and colonial
subjects and slaves. In Saint Domingue, one governance.
found the most concrete expression of the Recognizing the significance of the
idea that the rights proclaimed in Frances Haitian revolution as a site of physical and
1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and metaphysical emancipation, C.L.R James
Citizen were indeed universal given that Black Jacobins (1989[1938]) presents this
the slaves did not hesitate to lay a claim to world-historical event as the precursor to
the rights of man, rights to citizenship and the struggles for African decolonization and
the right to diplomatic recognition (Dubois, the emergence of new diplomacies. That is,
2005: 3). the revolution goes beyond its particular his-
While some French enlightenment think- torical and geographical location in order to
ers and abolitionist movements like the reveal the pretensions of universalist theo-
Amis des Noirs (Friends of the Blacks) ries of the Rights of Man by making them
were critical of the excesses of slavery, truly universal through decolonization and
few, if any, made the case for liberty, fra- the emancipation of slaves. However, Haiti
ternity and equality on racial grounds as was also the site of a different kind of diplo-
articulated by the slaves during the Haitian matic encounter. One characterized by both
revolution. (Buck-Morss, 2000: 828; 833 non-recognition and unthinkability by the
4). As a result of such a racialized and great powers of Europe and the USA that
colonial conceptualization of the world, Nicolson privileges in his conceptualization
diplomacy and philosophy, the Haitian rev- of diplomacy. As a result of non-recognition,
olution remained unthinkable insofar as diplomatic sanctions, isolation and later on
enlightenment philosophy and theories of military and humanitarian interventions, the
man were concerned and unrecognizable site of the first successful slave revolt and
insofar as diplomatic history, theory and first modern black state was transformed
practice were concerned. Michel-Rolph into the first third world nation in the world
Trouillot captures this phenomenon well (Dubois, 2005: 15). It is for these reasons that
in his reflections on the unthinkability of the Haitian state combines an unusual his-
the Haitian revolution in the West based on torical depth and a fragility typical of much
the revolutions challenge to slavery and new entities (Trouillot, 1990: 31). Laurent
racism and also due its methods (Trouillot, Dubois analysis of the entanglement of colo-
2013: 40). Not only did the revolution pre- nial and diplomatic practices and the denial
sent intellectual and ideological challenges of recognition and coevalness is worth quot-
to enlightenment philosophy, the practices ing at length:
that marked the events of the mass insur-
rection of 1791 to the proclamation of inde-
pendence for a modern black state in 1804 They would begin with the simple denial that
Haiti existed in 1806 one of them [planters],
crossed numerous political thresholds that exiled in Louisiana, noted as part of his property
enabled Haiti to challenge the ontologi- his Negroes remaining in Saint-Domingue.
cal order of the West and the global order Many governments reacted similarly. The refusal
of colonialism (Trouillot, 2013: 41). To of diplomatic relations with Haiti pioneered by
put it otherwise, the anti-colonial revolu- Jefferson would last until 1862 The denial of
political existence was accompanied by other
tion was considered anti-diplomatic by the attacks on sovereignty. In 1825 the Haitian gov-
French due to its use of violence. However, ernment agreed to pay an indemnity to France in
it was a move towards establishing a dif- return for diplomatic and economic relations
ferent kind of diplomatic order and agency it was meant to repay them for what they had

lost in Saint-Domingue, including the money GEOPOLITICAL IMAGINARIES AND

invested in their slaves, and amounted to a fine
for revolution. Unable to pay, the Haitian govern-
ment took loans from French banks, entering a
cycle of debt that would last into the twentieth The violence inherent in the disavowal of the
century the United States occupied Haiti in entanglements between colonialism and
1915, crushing a resistance movement whose modern diplomacy, or denial of their coeval
soldiers believed they were fighting a second emergence, is revealed in the shifting geo-
Haitian Revolution, and departed in 1934, but
not before Haitis constitution was altered to
graphical locus of the moral discourse on the
allow whites again to own land there. (Dubois, slave trade. In the post-abolition era, Europes
2005: 3034) ethico-political and ontological commitments
to anti-slavery shifted from a moralizing
In Haiti, we witness the colonized subjects condemnation of European demand for slaves
quest for universal freedom or humanity to work its plantations in the new world to
through the mediation of the universal Africas willingness to supply (Thorne, 1997:
alienation of mankind rather than the pur- 241; Opondo, 2010). Accordingly, the fight
suit of the mediation of the particular alien- against the slave trade moved to the East
ation of states. This contributes to an African coast where Arab allies like the
ambiguous project where one contests or Sultan of Zanzibar were considered crucial to
negotiates rather than seeks to resolve with both the colonization and civilization of
absolute certainty the conflict between par- Africa and the abolition of the slave trade.
ticularism and universalism (Der Derian, These concerns over the introduction of
1987: 136). Critical diplomatic theorists like European civilization and a commitment to
James Der Derian have fruitfully illustrated the opposition of slavery in Africa were the
how anti-colonial utopias can be anti- subject of a meeting on International
diplomatic and even contribute to terror, as Geography held in Brussels in 1876 with dev-
illustrated by his reading of Frantz Fanons astating effects for Africa. For instance, the
Wretched of the Earth. formation of the Belgian Committee of the
Association Internationale Africaine (AIA)
and expeditions into the interior of Africa
organized by King Leopold created the condi-
Key Points tions of possibility for the colonization of the
Congo. Not only did Pope Pius IX (184678)
The coloniality of modern diplomacy and the mul-
tiple ways in which anti-colonial practices create support Leopolds civilization project, the
and tap into a bond between liberators, thus AIA was recognized by the multi-lateral
creating new spaces of diplomatic encounter Berlin conference (188485), thus making
as well as a new idea of (diplomatic) man (Der Leopold the sovereign of the Etat independ-
Derian, 1987: 156). ent du Congo while partitioning most of
To read the history of Haiti as part of colonial Africa along the lines that are the basis of
history without considering its diplomatic predi- postcolonial state diplomacy and violence in
cates and vice versa contributes to a moralized the postcolony (Mudimbe, 1994: 106).
diplomatic history that overlooks the histories As Ali Mazrui puts it in the preface to
of violent mediation of estrangement that Haiti
Adekeye Adebajos The Curse of Berlin, the
reveals, contests and reproduces.
irony of Bismarck is that he helped to unify
Like the history of many Caribbean and African
societies, overlooking the colonial diplomacies Germany while initiating the division of
and coloniality of diplomacy leads to the assump- Africa. As a result of these old diplomatic/
tion that postcolonial diplomacy begins with colonial machinations, we saw the emer-
decolonization and entry into the world of sov- gence of one of the most powerful nations
ereign statehood. in the world on one hand and the invention
Diplomacy and the Colonial Encounter 49

of the most vulnerable region on the other countries, and the passive right of legation
(Mazrui, 2010: ix). The resultant regimes (jus passivum), by receiving foreign diplo-
of recognition meant that groups that were matic missions; while the colonized peoples
hitherto the subject of foreign relations in are relegated to the reception of a range of
a diplomatic sense (complete with its proto- foreign diplomatic agents and colonial gover-
cols, privileges and immunities), became the nors, explorers and missionaries without the
subject of a colonial rationality and credo of correlative right of sending them. In spite of
power that makes the native the prototype of the complex set of diplomatic norms that the
the animal or a thing to be altered at will Bey of Tunisia shared with European states
while simultaneously producing diplomatic for many years, it could receive but not send
man (Mbembe, 2001: 46). However, it is its own diplomatic agents given that rela-
worthwhile to note that colonial rhetoric on tions with Tunisia as a French protectorate
what it meant to be European, diplomatic, were mediated through the Resident General
African or human was riddled with contra- appointed by the French government (Silva,
dictions and constantly sought meanings on 1972: 35, 38). In the post-French revolution
which to anchor the desire to know, reorgan- era, the Bey also had to deal with a unilat-
ize and dominate colonized peoples. In order eral transformation of protocol among other
to achieve their own ends, some colonized forms of non-reciprocity when the French
peoples like Mzilikazi, the Ndebele leader, consuls and nationals refused to kiss his hand
appropriated the colonial apparatus or cre- as was the custom among the Beys subjects
ated zones of negotiation from which they and consuls (Windler, 2001: 93, 98).
could resist or transgress against the coloniz- With the shift to the new diplomacy, a
ing cultures. As a result, in his friendship with supposedly more moral form of diplomatic
the missionary Robert Moffat in the 1820s, engagement, we witness a continuation of
Mzilikazi did not welcome the mission- the old partialities with regard to colonized
ary as an evangelizing force but as a good peoples. Whereas the Berlin Conference
messenger who would inform him about partitioned and divided Africans in order to
approaching enemies to the Ndebele state, colonize them, the League of Nations, and
agent of Western culture, trading agent with more so its mandate system, can be seen as
white South Africa and technician with the a continuation rather than a move towards
skills required to mend and repair firearms the abolition of colonial logics as it merely
(Ndlovu-Gatsheni, 2011: 100102). re-distributes colonies based on the assump-
These colonial contradictions made the tion that colonized peoples were not ready
colonial encounter more than a one-sided to govern themselves. Not only did the man-
affair. By altering conceptions and orienta- dates system set up under Article 22 of the
tions towards the foreign and the domestic, Covenant of the League of Nations uphold
friend and enemy, the culturally proper and the idea that the colonies were being held
the improper, they transformed established in trust for civilization, it also categorized
diplomatic protocols and ceremonies while the colonies along developmental and civili-
creating a space where the everyday colonial- zational lines (Upthegrove, 1954: 5). In the
ist could act as some form of diplomatic agent trusteeship plan (The League of Nations A
complete with the immunities, privileges and Practical Solution) published by General Jan
the sliding credentials required for the colo- Smuts on 16 December 1918, the mandates
nial enterprise. The same can be said for the were divided into three categories based
principle of the right to legation. In the colo- on their location, economic states and cul-
nial context, we witness Europeans exercising tural development. The Class A mandates
both the active right of legation (jus activum), (Palestine, Trans-Jordan and Iraq) were all
by establishing diplomatic missions in foreign received by Great Britain and were considered

to have a higher stage of development; while The spectres of the colonial system continue to
Class B mandates (British Togoland, British haunt the postcolonial present. A case in point
Cameroons and Tanganyika) were formerly is the mandate system that structured apartheid
owned by Germany and were considered era South West Africa (Namibia)South Africa
less advanced and thus requiring more relations; another is the mandate for Palestine,
which, unlike other mandates, acted as a trustee
supervision (Upthegrove, 1954: 17). The last
for the conscience of the civilized world by privi-
category of mandates (Class C: South West leging and holding in trust the land for Jewish
Africa and the Pacific Islands) were assigned people as a whole who are not yet there on the
to neighbouring powers due to the sparse- ground (Upthegrove, 1954: 145).
ness of population, their small size and their However, the historical abuses of morally-
remoteness from the centers of civilization inflected diplomatic discourses have not gone
(Upthegrove, 1954: 12). uncontested by those who resist or negotiate the
In the 1960s, actively anti-colonial Asian, colonial negations.
African and Latin American governments
sought to prevent the abuse of Chapter XI of
the UN Charter by noting that the colonial
powers had used the general act of the Berlin CONCLUSION
Africa Congress of 1884 and Article 23b of
the Covenant of the League of Nations to The above attempts to reveal the diplomacy
achieve their colonial objectives. As such, the colonialism nexus make it possible for us to
United Nations became one of the sites for the engage the postcolonial present in a manner
collision of the giant forces of colonialism that does not distribute colonial guilt on the
and anti-colonialism, while the discourses one hand, or create a sanitized idea of diplo-
related to safeguarding the well-being of col- macy on the other (Mamdani, 1984: 1048).
onized peoples became the subject of critique Rather than think of the colony and the post-
(Ahmad Hassan, 1974: 3; see also Chapters colony as spaces of lack and incompleteness,
10 and 2934 in this Handbook). a place where diplomacys promises can only
The contrapuntal reading of the ethic of be realized through the logics of command,
the necessity for continuous negotiations administration and conversion, the chapter
that this chapter explores points to both the illustrates how the postcolony a site that is
negations and negotiations that accompany at once necropolitical and life affirming
diplomatic and colonial encounters. presents some of the most complex negotia-
tions of the meanings of modern diplomacy
by revisiting its connections to nature and the
question of being, the denigration and
Key Points
mismeasure of man, colonial rule, the cel-
The civilizational mission, abolitionism, capital- ebration of the nation-state as an anti-colonial
ism and will-to-convert contributed to the shift apparatus, to more recent revelations of the
in moral and diplomatic discourses resulting in pitfalls of national consciousness.
the replacement of slavery with colonialism and As such, the postcolony (and the colony
settlement or passing on of the colonies from one before it) encourage us to continuously plu-
colonial master to another.
ralize or renegotiate our idea of modern diplo-
The resultant moral cartography was at once
macy given its entanglements with colonial
colonial and diplomatic. Its colonial imperatives
continuously limited the diplomatic possibilities. violence as well as transgressive life-affirm-
For instance, multi-lateral diplomatic entities like ing imaginaries. This means that critical
the League of Nations found it easier to imagine reflections on the diplomatic, colonial and
the end of war for Europeans or world peace anti-colonial or postcolonial self should be
than the more modest project of decolonization. more patient and vigilant as they could very
Diplomacy and the Colonial Encounter 51

easily become self-congratulatory forma- exist across difference (Glissant, 2000). While
tions that forget that the world is a crowded the promise of modern diplomacy might be
place (Said, 1993: xxi). The same can be said presented as that which would enable us to
for recognition-based practices that seek to have an effective cosmopolitan, humanitar-
expand the domain of diplomacy or citizenship ian, multicultural and even a more peaceful
through the incorporation of colonized others dialogue among states, the critical diplomatic
into existing political and diplomatic imagi- project enables us to recognize the limits of
naries as a corrective to centuries of colonial these projects while experimenting with or
exploitation. These range from present day apprehending multi-natural and cosmopoliti-
multi-track diplomatic efforts that tap into cal possibilities in an age where violence on
indigenous conflict resolution methods not as human and non-human beings in the name of
diplomacy proper, but as ethno-diplomacies humanity or culture is becoming moralized,
to be used to solve some of the local problems common and acceptable. An age which, like
arising from colonial and postcolonial politi- the colonial era that precedes it, is marked by a
cal arrangements while distracting us from a human and humanitarian calculus that makes
critique of the arrangements themselves or the it possible to purse violence as a lesser evil, to
material conditions of existences of subaltern convert rather than converse with difference or
groups. In the context of settler colonial soci- where the responsibility to protect vulnerable
eties like Canada, recognition-based mod- human life has become the right to punish.
els of liberal pluralism also act as a form of
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Statecraft, Strategy and
Markus Kornprobst

INTRODUCTION 174 articles with a title including the word

diplomacy but only ten with a title includ-
It is simply stating the obvious that statecraft, ing the word statecraft. Of these ten articles,
strategy and diplomacy are closely related. only seven are research articles and only one
Strategy is an important guide for statecraft. of these a discussion of Machiavelli ends
Diplomacy features prominently both in this up discussing the concept in depth. When the
guide and in actual practices of statecraft. Yet journal web-page outlines the objectives of
this chapter seeks to go beyond the obvious. the journal, there is mentioning of diplomacy
What is statecraft? How are strategy and and diplomats but not of statecraft.1
diplomacy to be conceptualized? How do A similar pattern prevails in books writ-
these concepts hang together? ten on statecraft. There are many books that
I deal with these questions one after the feature the term statecraft in the title but
other. The reason for this is simple. While the content of the books does not define the
there are rich literatures on strategy and concept. The concept does not even appear in
diplomacy, statecraft is something akin to a the index (Ledeen, 1988; Zelikow and Rice,
conceptual enigma in International Studies. 1995; Barrett, 2003; McKercher, 2012).
Statecraft is widely considered to be an impor- There seems to be something about the term
tant concept. But there is a lack of conceptu- statecraft that is of some importance. This
alization of the term. For instance, the term is why authors choose to use the term. At the
features in the title of the well-known jour- same time, however, the meaning of the term
nal Diplomacy & Statecraft. But the actual often remains up in the air.
content of the journal is lop-sided. There is a I contend that most authors address-
lot about diplomacy but not that much about ing the conceptual triad of statecraft, strat-
statecraft. Thus far, the journal has published egy and diplomacy draw from five broader
Statecraft, Strategy and Diplomacy 55

Table 4.1 Five perspectives on statecraft, strategy and diplomacy

Statecraft Strategy Diplomacy
Classical realism Prudent choice of means Plan for choosing means to Crafting balance of power
to secure survival achieve an end
Rational choice Compute costs and Sequential plan of moves to Bargaining international institutions
benefits attain preference into being
Cognitive Putting heuristics to use to Adaptive plan for choosing Wielding power without waging war
approaches serve interest means to achieve an end (producing of heuristics)
Culturalist Context as resource for Compass for coping with Communicating global order into
approaches reasoning international relations being
Critical approaches Habitual reasoning Strategy without strategist Unreflectively communicating unjust
global order into being

perspectives to make sense of the concept: uncovers five perspectives: classical realism,
classical realism, rational choice, cognitive rational choice, cognitive approaches, cultur-
approaches, culturalist approaches and criti- alist approaches and critical approaches.
cal approaches. These perspectives underline Table 4.1 provides an overview of these
that statecraft, strategy and diplomacy are lenses.
closely interrelated. But they differ in terms Classical realism is close to the founda-
of how they define these concepts and how tional works on statecraft written by Kautilya
they relate them to one another. Discussing (1915), Plato (2013) and Machiavelli (1979)
the strengths and weaknesses of these per- when it comes to conceptualizing statecraft.
spectives, I argue for more eclecticism. Statecraft is, above all, about prudent rea-
Classical realism, rational choice, and cogni- soning. The end of this reasoning is state
tive approaches are more concise and parsi- survival (Carr, 1964: 1534; Wolfers, 1962;
monious when they address the conceptual Morgenthau, 1985: 11584; Kissinger, 2001:
triad. But cultural and critical approaches 31).3 Given that classical realists consider
provide important insights that need to be statecraft an art, they do not try to squeeze
taken seriously when we want to make sense prudent reasoning into an elegant theory
of our changing global polity. (Morgenthau, 1985: 565; Kissinger, 2001:
This chapter is organized as follows. First, 285). But they are very vocal about what it
I provide an overview of how the five per- is not. It is to be sharply distinguished from
spectives link strategy and diplomacy to emotions and ideological zeal (Morgenthau,
statecraft. Second, I discuss these linkages. 1985: 5847; Kissinger, 2001: 26473).
Third, I propose an eclectic agenda for further It comes quite naturally to classical real-
research. Fourth, I conclude on an empirical ists to link statecraft closely to strategy and
note, highlighting the need to move beyond diplomacy. Statecraft revolves around relat-
entrenched understandings of the conceptual ing means to an end. Strategy stands in the
triad. middle between means and ends. Strategy
is the guide for choosing means to achieve
an end. Classical realist scholarship tends to
conceptualize strategy in terms of grand strat-
FIVE PERSPECTIVES ON STATECRAFT, egy. It advocates particular grand strategies
STRATEGY AND DIPLOMACY and related courses of action. The balance
of power always looms large in these strate-
This section discusses the main perspectives gies. Such a balance is the only kind of (tenu-
on statecraft, strategy and diplomacy.2 It ous) stability that is possible in an anarchic

system (Morgenthau, 1965; Kissinger, 2012). the sanctions regime (Solingen, 2012b) and
This is where diplomacy comes in. Prudent not, say, by negotiation skill. Liberal inter-
state leaders gear their strategies towards governmentalism also reduces diplomacy to
crafting a balance of power. It is no coin- bargaining. What economic sanctions are to
cidence, therefore, that Morgenthau con- authors such as Solingen, credible threats
cludes his influential Politics among Nations with implications for domestic economies
with a chapter on diplomacy (Morgenthau, are to Moravcsik (1998: 3). They are the key
1985: 56194). It is also no coincidence that causal force that determines the outcomes
Kissinger (1994) titles one of his most-cited of bargaining, i.e. whether more integra-
books simply Diplomacy. Diplomatic means tion happens or not. Nevertheless, there is a
are considered to be highly important. A bal- notable difference between the two rational
ance of power does not just happen. It has to choice strands. In Moravcsik, the bargaining
be made by diplomats with an adequate strat- of diplomats has the potential to create an
egy for how to do so. institutional order within which future dip-
Some authors conceptualize statecraft as lomatic bargaining takes place. The kind of
rational choice. In this view, state leaders bargaining addressed in the economic sanc-
compute what means are best suited to attain tions literature, by contrast, is not productive
a states given goal. Statecraft thus under- in this fashion. It affects behaviour directly
stood is not an art. Practising statecraft is but does not create an order for future diplo-
something akin to a science, and it is to be matic encounters.
analysed by the scientific means of elegant Authors putting cognitive approaches to
and parsimonious theories (Solingen, 2009: use to write about statecraft also weave the
14851; Moravcsik, 2013). This perspective concept together with strategy and diplomacy.
encompasses two main strands of thought on Statecraft is again conceptualized in terms of
statecraft, i.e. research on economic sanc- relating means to ends. Leaders weigh the
tions (Cain, 2007; Solingen, 2012a)4 and lib- expected costs and benefits of their actions
eral intergovernmentalism (Moravcsik, 1998, in terms of how they serve the national inter-
1999). est. But cognitive approaches conceptualize
For the rational choice perspective, strat- processes of reasoning differently from the
egy is a key term. Strategy is important perspectives above. They are not content
because a leader engaging in statecraft never with the normative prescription to be prudent
acts alone on the world stage. There are other (classical realism) and they are highly scep-
actors as well. In game theoretical language, tical about the far-reaching computational
players are locked into a game that they play powers of leaders assumed by rational choice.
with one another. Striving for getting what Instead, they vow to look into the analytical
one wants in this game requires something black boxes of decision-making (George,
akin to a game plan. A particular move by 1997: 44). Leaders acquire a heuristic bag-
one player is to be countered by a particular gage and put these cognitive shortcuts to use
move by another player and so on. The anal- to make sense of reality and make decisions.
ogy here is a chess game. The players cal- This putting to use, in turn, may reshape their
culate several moves ahead (Barrett, 2003). heuristics.5 Authors often use the term judge-
Research on economic sanctions puts much ment to describe these processes of sense-
less emphasis on diplomacy than on strategy. making and decision-making (Lamborn and
Economic sanctions do the explanation of Mumme, 1988: 6; Rosenthal, 1995; Ross,
the behaviour of the target stage. Diplomacy, 2007: x). This line of inquiry heavily borrows
understood as bargaining, makes its appear- from Herbert Simons path-breaking work on
ances in these studies. But the bargaining bounded rationality (Bulpitt, 1986; Baldwin,
outcome is explained by the properties of 1999/2000; Buller, 2000: 13).
Statecraft, Strategy and Diplomacy 57

Cognitive approaches take strategy and judgement. But they are not clear about
diplomacy seriously, too. Similarly to classi- what judgement actually is. This is somewhat
cal realism, cognitive approaches understand reminiscent of classical realism. Again, state-
strategy as something that is located in the craft is considered an art, and culturalists are
middle between means and ends. Nevertheless, reluctant to over-theorize this art (Butterfield,
the cognitive conceptualization of strategy is 1960: 99120; Bozeman, 1992: 25355;
distinctive. Strategy is a plan for action that Hirschman, 2013).
evolves over time. Decision-makers have the Culturalist approaches offer alternative
ability to adapt their strategies (Lauren etal., understandings of strategy and diplomacy.
2014: 290). Strategy, in other words, is not Hirschman conceptualizes strategy more com-
something that merely features among the prehensively than rationalist perspectives. He
parameters of rationality. It is also a potential includes a wider range of means. Strategy is
outcome of interaction. Diplomacy plays a key about making use of resources that are usually
role when it comes to this interaction. Authors hidden (Hirschman, 1958: 5). He also prob-
tend to relate diplomacy to policy outcomes. lematizes how interests come to be defined by
Research on coercive diplomacy, for instance, actors (Hirschman, 1986: 3555). Bozeman
is concerned with how leaders put robust breaks with rationalist conceptualizations
diplomatic means to use in order to avoid with more determination. Strategy is akin to
the escalation of a crisis into war. Cognitive a compass that helps actors to come to terms
approaches, therefore, deliver a hands-on per- with life (Bozeman, 1992: 1). Butterfields
spective on diplomacy. They are about how work on statecraft is clearly influenced by the
diplomacy leads to a certain policy outcome. English Schools tendency to define diplo-
They are in contrast to classical realism and macy in terms of communication (Watson,
liberal intergovernmentalism not concerned 1982: 11; Bull, 1995: 1623). Bozeman
with the making of political order. (1979), having undergone diplomatic training
The culturalist perspective is very het- herself, conceptualizes diplomacy as multi-
erogeneous.6 Albert Hirschman, Herbert cultural communication. Understandings of
Butterfield and Adda Bozeman address diplomacy as communication, although more
the conceptual triad of statecraft, strategy implicit, are found in Hirschmans work as
and diplomacy in quite some depth. These well (Hirschman, 1978). Very much in line
authors share in common that they conceive with the emphasis on social context, the inter-
of actors as socially embedded in context. relatedness of statecraft, strategy and diplo-
Hirschman (1977) approaches capitalism as a macy can have a very broad impact, the social
social context, and Butterfield (1952) is very context within which this interrelatedness
much indebted to the English School when he happens very much included. Hirschman, for
writes about international society. Bozeman instance, is primarily interested in issues of
(1992: 1) comes close to defining statecraft economic and developmental order. Bozeman
in terms of social context: The term state- and Butterfield allude to how statecraft shapes
craft [] stands for the sum total of human a diplomatic context that is widely shared
dispositions, doctrines, policies, institutions, beyond nation-state boundaries.
processes, and operations that are designed to Critical approaches, similarly to cultur-
assure the governance, security, and survival alist ones, draw heavily from sociological
of a politically unified human group. Yet for insights. But the epistemological stance of
all the insights provided by culturalists on the former differs from the latter. Critical
the social context within which reasoning approaches do not merely seek to understand
takes place, there are not many clues as to statecraft, strategy and diplomacy. They aim
how reasoning proceeds. Some authors, simi- at critiquing it. Borrowing from poststruc-
larly to cognitive approaches, use the term turalist thought, critical scholars allude to

oppressive background ideas.7 These give than in culturalist approaches (Der Derian,
rise to unreflective practices of exploitation 1987; Constantinou, 1996) (See also Chapters
and injustice. Reflecting on the USMexico 5, 7 and 8 in this Handbook).
border, Roxanne Lynne Doty (2001: 525)
argues that statecraft is:
Key Points
rooted not in the rationality of atomistic actors
made up by IR scholars, but in the forces, the There are five main perspectives on state-
impulses, and energies that traverse this seemingly craft, strategy and diplomacy: classical realism,
endless tract of land divided, on maps, by a line rational choice, cognitive approaches, culturalist
that separates the worlds richest country from one
approaches and critical approaches.
of the poorest.
They agree that statecraft is, ultimately, about
rationality. But they conceptualize reasoning
This quote also illustrates the potential differently, alluding to prudence, computation,
effects of statecraft. According to critical heuristics, social contexts more generally and
scholars, statecraft reproduces taken-for- exploitative contexts more specifically.
granted ideas that are implicated in sustain- They agree that statecraft, strategy and diplo-
ing oppressive orders. These are substantive macy are interwoven. But they conceptualize
and procedural in nature. Cynthia Weber strategy and diplomacy differently as well.
(2010), for instance, critiques liberalism for Schisms cut deep, with scholars coming down
justifying oppressive domestic and interna- on different sides of the structureagency debate
tional practices.8 Richard Ashley (1989) (ontology) and even on how to conduct research
deals more with the procedural aspect of who
is entitled to engage in statecraft when he
chastises statecraft as mancraft.
With very few exceptions (Doty, 1996: DISCUSSING THE FIVE PERSPECTIVES
83; 1045) critical scholars provide only a
few hints about how statecraft, strategy and This section discusses the strengths and
diplomacy are related. But these are worth weaknesses of these five perspectives. I con-
discussing. Some authors address strategy tend that rationalist perspectives are, com-
but give it a rather different spin. The con- pared to sociological perspectives, more
cept of strategy without strategist (Rabinow, concise about what statecraft, strategy and
2003: 54; Thomas, 2014: 170), for instance, diplomacy are, and how these three concepts
conceptualizes strategy and squarely hang together. Yet this comes at the price of
locates it in the social context as opposed overly narrow conceptualizations of state-
to autonomous individual decision-making. craft, strategy and diplomacy. Sociological
Strategies, too, are habitual. They are outside perspectives provide important insights for
of the realm of the reflective. In the last two how to move beyond these narrow
decades, critical scholarship has generated a confines.
number of important studies on diplomacy. Among the three rationalist perspectives,
Similarly to culturalist research, communica- rational choice defines its terms in the most
tive encounters feature prominently in these concise and parsimonious manner. Rationality
studies. The focus is not on explicit encoun- is assumed to be the maximization of expected
ters but more on the orthodoxies and hetero- utility, strategy is the plan for how to do so
doxies that underpin these communicative while interacting with others, and diplomacy
encounters and constitute them in the first is about the actual interaction, defined as
place. To put this differently, context and bargaining. Cognitive approaches, too, are
the production and reproduction of hidden concise. Reasoning revolves around heu-
context is considered even more important ristic devices and strategy is an adaptive
Statecraft, Strategy and Diplomacy 59

plan linked to these heuristics. Diplomacy and decision-making. At times, sociologi-

is often not addressed in its full breadth. cal perspectives, too, are overly narrow. This
Authors focus on a particular aspect of it: applies especially to critical approaches.
coercive diplomacy (see also Chapter 38 in They put heavy emphasis on the unreflected
this Handbook). But cognitive approaches as opposed to the reflected. This is quite a
are less parsimonious. Opening up the black radical move. It is far from clear whether
box of decision-making has the major ben- reasoning and applying strategies are always
efit that researchers do not merely rely on habitual.
assumptions about how decisions are made Nonetheless, sociological perspectives
but actually inquire into the process of make important contributions. They help us
decision-making. Classical realism is par-
re-think entrenched categories. They push us
simonious but not always as concise as the to work towards a more sophisticated under-
other two rationalist approaches. At the standing of rationality and strategy. Cognitive
risk of oversimplifying the classical realist approaches make a very strong case that
account, statecraft, strategy and diplomacy clues held by individuals matter for how they
are, ultimately, about one particular demand figure out what to do. Culturalist and criti-
placed on leadership by international anar- cal approaches highlight that clues held by
chy: Realpolitik. But processes of reasoning communities matter, too. They also highlight
are not addressed in any rigorous fashion. that not all reasoning is all out in the open.
The same applies to strategy and diplomacy. There are reflective and unreflective dimen-
Rationalist accounts, however, also have sions. Perhaps most importantly, sociological
their drawbacks. With the conceptualizations approaches prompt us to embrace a broader
of statecraft, strategy and diplomacy being view of diplomacy. Statecraft and strategy
rather narrow, authors miss important aspects leave their mark on global and regional orders
of the conceptual triad. The conceptualiza- and they do so via diplomacy. Vice versa,
tions of statecraft and strategy are all about diplomacy shapes statecraft and strategy. In
autonomous, individual decision-making. some encounters, diplomacy may amount
There is nothing about advisors shaping the to little more than bargaining. But in oth-
views of leaders or leaders bowing under pub- ers, it may go much beyond that. Messages
lic pressure. There is nothing about shared may win over other actors. In the language
decision-making clues. Conceptualizations of rational choice, diplomatic communica-
of diplomacy are, arguably, even more nar- tion can change preferences. Equally impor-
row. In classical realism, the diplomats that tantly, diplomatic communication may leave
matter are the key decision-making figures its mark on the authority of the interlocutors,
of great powers, and the only kind of diplo- strengthening or weakening their status as
macy that is elaborated on in depth is the senders of messages. This communication is
crafting of the balance of power. Rational by no means confined to state-to-state interac-
choice reduces diplomacy to bargaining tion (or even the interaction of great powers).
among states. Cognitive approaches, too, are It potentially encompasses all governors of
all about state interaction, especially coercive regional and global governance no matter
diplomacy involving great powers (see also whether they are state or non-state actors.
Chapter 22 in this Handbook).
Sociological perspectives are more ten-
tative when they define statecraft, strategy
and diplomacy. They often find it particu- Key Points
larly difficult to deal with reasoning and Rationalist perspectives (classical realism,
strategy because their focus is on social rational choice, cognitive approaches) are more
context as opposed to individual autonomy concise and parsimonious in their discussion of

statecraft, strategy and diplomacy than soci- Precisely such discussion is required, how-
ological ones (culturalist approaches, critical ever, in order to get a better understanding of
approaches). rationality. Rationality, after all, is probably
But sociological perspectives provide important the key concept underpinning statecraft.
inputs for moving beyond the limitations of How does statecraft come to pro-
rationalist perspectives.
duce what aspects of international order?
Conceptualizing order, many international
relations theorists have moved far beyond
simple dichotomies of anarchy and hierarchy
AN AGENDA FOR FURTHER along with unidimensional views of interna-
RESEARCH tional order that are all about military capa-
bilities. Global governance may very well be
Based on the discussions above, this section a fuzzy concept. But research on global gov-
develops an agenda for further research. ernance shows plenty of potential to improve
Drawing upon current debates in interna- our understandings of the complex nature of
tional relations theory and the study of diplo- international order (Rosenau and Czempiel,
macy, it identifies questions for improving 1992; Barnett and Finnemore, 2004; Hurrell,
our understanding of the conceptual triad as 2007). It makes a compelling case, for
well as our normative discussions about it. instance, that the world becomes more and
How do agents come to figure out what to more interdependent. It also demonstrates
do? Research on statecraft would benefit if it that more and more issue areas that used to be
engaged in more detail with the concept of dealt with on the domestic level are pushed
rationality. In international relations theory, onto the international one, such as environ-
there are numerous debates about rational- ment, health and migration. These changes
ity. There are debates about how utilitar- are of major importance for research on state-
ian actors weigh costs and benefits between craft. They demand new answers to old ques-
rational choice and psychological approaches tions. Questions about statecraft and national
(Bueno de Mesquita and McDermott, 2004). security, at the forefront of research and
Furthermore, there are debates about logics practices of statecraft, have to take the evolu-
of action other than this consequentialist one. tion towards more and more interdependence
Scholars putting forward the logic of appro- into account. The changes also pose entirely
priateness hold that the actors we study do new questions, such as how some issue areas
not always weigh costs and benefits; some- make it onto the global agenda while others
times they are rule-followers (March and do not. This may very well have something to
Olsen, 1989). Writers arguing for the logic do with statecraft.
of argumentation hold that there are cir- How does strategy link up with rational-
cumstances under which actors come to be ity and order? Old and new debates among
persuaded to change their views, even their international relations theorists help to
preferences, while interacting with others elaborate on the entrenched scholarly defi-
(Risse, 2000). Authors making a case for the nition of strategy as a plan for choosing
logic of practice submit that actors do not means to pursue a given end. They add to
always reflect in order to figure out what to the pool of means (Nye, 2004; Barnett and
do; at times they simply do, following the Duvall, 2005) and put the concept of inter-
background knowledge they hold (Pouliot, est under scrutiny (Wheeler, 1992; Weldes,
2008). In research on statecraft, these differ- 1999). They contend that grand strategy is
ent scholarly understandings of rationality a taken-for-granted guide for action that is
are present. But there is very little discus- not just about means and ends but also about
sion about them across perspectival divides. epistemic understandings of the security
Statecraft, Strategy and Diplomacy 61

environment and representations of iden- a particular mode of communication with one

tity (Kornprobst, 2015). These elaborations another (Kornprobst, 2012; see also Chapters
make for thought-provoking questions for 6 and 35 in this Handbook).
research on statecraft: What are the sub- How ought statecraft be conducted and
tle means of statecraft in our age? Is there what ought to be the relationship between
such a thing as an enlightened self-interest academia and statecraft? Most writings
in statecraft? Where do understandings of about statecraft are normative in nature. They
security environments, identity, interests and are, ultimately, not just about how statecraft
means come from and how do they, woven works but about how it ought to work. There
together, come to assume a taken-for-granted is, in principle, nothing wrong with that. But
quality? For the most part, these questions normative theory needs to be discussed as
pertain to processes of how strategy guides normative theory. This means two things:
practical reason to build order. Yet there are first, there has to be a meta-theoretical debate
also questions most notably the last one about how scholarly knowledge affects state-
that would make researchers look into how craft. What are the processes through which
order is implicated in shaping the ingredients scholarly ideas make it out of the supposed
of strategy, which in turn deeply influences Ivory Tower of academia and come to inform
practical reasoning. statecraft? What kinds of processes are war-
How does diplomacy link up with ration- ranted and what kinds are not? With the
ality, strategy and order? Recent research exception of critical approaches, writings on
on diplomacy revisits these concepts. It statecraft are not sufficiently self-reflective,
underlines the importance of the questions and critical approaches run the risk of throw-
outlined above. Research on global health, ing the baby out with the bathwater, i.e. they
for instance, often mentions the concept of tend to equate statecraft with oppression.
enlightened self-interest (Yach, 1998; Fauci, Second, there has to be a theoretical debate
2007). The telecommunications revolu- about morality and statecraft. In the 1980s,
tion has prompted scholars of diplomacy to normative research in international relations
elaborate on the means used by diplomats. still felt constantly obliged to defend the
Public diplomacy and, very much related purpose of normative writings against the
to it, e-diplomacy are among these means classical realist stance that morality in inter-
(Gilboa, 2008). There is also a more and national affairs is simply about pursuing the
more nuanced understanding of different national interest and securing the nations
forms of power that necessitates revisiting survival (Beitz, 1988). Yet normative theory
the means used by diplomats. Several stud- in international relations has come of age.
ies on diplomatic routines provide evidence It is much more self-confident now and no
for the logic of practice (Guzzini, 2000; longer feels the constant need to defend its
Neumann, 2002). All of these elaborations very existence against classical realism.
on practical reason and the role of strategy In the age of globalization and global gov-
in it point towards the salience of the context ernance, research on statecraft, too, has to
in which diplomats are embedded. Authors address normative issues in a more sophis-
address this context in substantive and pro- ticated fashion. Orthodox interpretations of
cedural terms. When diplomats communi- classical realism should not curb normative
cate about a particular issue concerning arms research. Critical engagement (Lebow, 2003;
control, for instance, they do so based on (a Williams, 2005), by contrast, facilitates it.
selective reading of) existing arms control So do several avenues of research advocated
agreements. Additionally, the way they com- above, including the scrutiny of enlightened
municate with one another is a peculiarly interest and the interaction of state and non-
diplomatic one. Diplomats are socialized into state actors.

Key Points bombardments and a ground troop invasion

into Gaza. Once again, civilians suffer the
Future research on the nexus of statecraft, strat-
horrible and deadly consequences of refus-
egy and diplomacy should develop our under-
als by political leaders to look for political
standings of practical reason (statecraft and
strategy) and communication among different solutions. Islamic State (IS) jihadists, hav-
actors (including diplomacy) further. ing proclaimed a new caliphate, expand the
The key explanandum of such investigations territories they hold in Syria and Iraq. They
should be the making and unmaking of order. terrorize the population, targeting Christians,
In addition to research focused on explaining the moderate Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims and
making and unmaking of order, there should also especially Yazidis. Boco Haram, a militant
be a normative research agenda. Muslim sect, burns villages, abducts people,
rapes and kills in Nigeria. The situation for
civilians in the embattled Eastern Ukraine
worsens. Russian separatists shoot down a
CONCLUDING EMPIRICALLY: SOME civilian aircraft headed for Malaysia. The
THOUGHTS ON OUR GLOBAL POLITY Netherlands mourns; most of the passengers
were Dutch.
July 1914. Austria-Hungary issues a sharp Far away from the headlines, people con-
ultimatum to Serbia. Germany declares its tinue to die because of poverty and poverty-
unconditional support of Austria. On 28 July, related diseases. Child mortality continues to
Vienna declares war on Serbia. The world be a major problem in the Global South, in
slides into the First World War. July 2014. A particular Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern
hundred years later, there is no world war. Asia. About 1,500 children under the age
Indeed, there is not a single inter-state war. of five die every month due to preventable
Yet leaders are struggling to cope with a host diseases that are closely linked to poverty.9
of issues that have been recurring over and The situation is particularly dire in countries
over again for some time. ravaged by war. In South Sudan, war causes
To name but a few, it is boat season starvation. West African states join in their
(Sherwood etal., 2014) in the Mediterranean efforts to battle Ebola. The United Nations
Sea. Trying to escape intra-state war, violence, Development Programme (UNDP) publishes
poverty and crime, tens of thousands embark its annual Human Development Report, high-
on largely unseaworthy and hopelessly over- lighting yet again that environmental deg-
crowded boats to cross the Mediterranean radation, poverty and conflict hang closely
from Africa to Europe. In the European Union, together.10
the flows of migration are often understood as This comparison between the 1914 July
a security issue and dealt with accordingly crisis and the world a hundred years on is, of
(Zaiotti, 2011). At the USMexico border, course, very sketchy. But it is suggestive. On
well over 50,000 children try to cross the the one hand, todays global politics is mark-
border, their parents desperately hoping for edly different from the past. More and more
better lives for their children in the United issue areas that were considered domestic in
States. Congress refuses to allocate funds for the past move onto the international agenda,
humanitarian aid. Instead, Texas mobilizes and more and more new and old items on
1,000 troops of the National Guard and sends this agenda become closely interwoven.
them to the border, determined to secure Take migration flows to Europe, for instance.
the Southern border of the United States Intra-state wars make the number of refu-
(Governor Rick Perry, quoted in Bever, 2014). gees increase to the highest number since
Israel, targeted by Hamas missiles yet the Second World War. IS, therefore, makes
again, responds with yet another round of itself felt not only in Iraq and Syria but also
Statecraft, Strategy and Diplomacy 63

in neighbouring countries and Europe. This century more than fifty years ago, the postu-
is not only due to the many refugees trying lates and critiques we deliver are unlikely to
to escape the slaughter. Among its fighters be very helpful for the twenty-first century.
are a large number of foreigners. European If we engage in a broad debate with scholars
governments debate nervously about what to from different perspectives and practitioners
do when European citizens, having fought for representing different kinds of state and non-
IS, return to Europe. IS, to continue this short state actors, we may have opportunities to do
list of interrelatedness in todays global pol- better than that (see also Chapters 2933 in
ity, formed in response to the US-led invasion this Handbook).
of Iraq in 2003.
On the other hand, leaders especially
state leaders are struggling to find answers
to todays problems. All too often, they hold
on to a deeply entrenched security reflex. NOTES
When major problems arise for a state, they
1 Diplomacy & Statecraft,
equate these problems with threats to national action/journalInformation?show=aimsScope&jo
security and choose military means that origi- urnalCode=fdps20#.U7ZaP53mSUk [accessed 4
nate as responses to inter-state wars. The US July 2014].
reaction to Latin American children trying 2 Note that I only include perspectives in this over-
view that address all three concepts. Neoclassical
to cross the border shows this security reflex
Realism, thus far, has tended to shy away from
all too clearly. The security reflex, however, engaging with statecraft explicitly. Those neoclas-
is often highly misleading. There is, after sical realists who do write on statecraft borrow
all, a difference between nuclear weapons, considerably from cognitive approaches. See, for
tanks and heavy armoury on the one hand instance, Field (2007).
3 Contemporary scholarship remains influenced by
and children struggling to escape poverty on
classical realism (Murray 2010; Freeman 2010:
the other. Furthermore, state leaders find it 137).
difficult to embark on multilateral solutions 4 Yet note that there is also research on eco-
to global problems. The Security Council nomic sanctions that is informed by cognitive
becomes more and more ineffective because approaches (Baldwin, 1985). Solingen (2012b),
who draws heavily from rational choice assump-
its permanent members, reminiscent of the
tions, is open to eclecticism, too. Research on
Cold War, threaten or actually use their veto economic sanctions traces itself back to Albert
powers. More and more divided internally, the Hirschman, whose eclectic work allows for vari-
European Union is as far away from taking on ous interpretations. Since Hirschman puts a very
a more determined role in world politics as strong emphasis on cultural forces, I include his
work in my discussion of culturalist approaches
ever (see also Chapter 25 in this Handbook).
The gist of this is simple. Statecraft, 5 There are overlaps between cognitive approaches
strategy and diplomacy in our age have a and the work of historians in this regard. See
lot to do with regional and global govern- especially Kennedy (1983).
ance. States and the leaders that represent 6 I borrow the label of culturalism from Lichbach
and Zuckerman (1997), intending to indicate
them are important governors of world
that this cluster of scholarship is broader than
politics. Statecraft is about building regional entrenched schools of thought dealing with cul-
and global orders that have the potential to tural and ideational forces (such as constructivism
address the problems of our times appropri- and the English School).
ately. Scholars should not underestimate the 7 There are some hints that instrumental rationality
is among these background ideas. This critique,
role they play in all of this. If we hold on to
of course, is much further developed in critical
too many understandings of statecraft that scholarship that does not deal with the concep-
were arrived at by scholars engaging with tual triad under scrutiny. See, for example, Hork-
the nineteenth century and early twentieth heimer (1991).

8 This is a response to Deudney and Ikenberry Government and the European Union,
(1999). 19791997. London: Pinter.
9 UNICEF, Levels & Trends in Child Mortality Report, Bulpitt, Jim (1986) The discipline of the new
2013. democracy: Mrs Thatchers domestic state-
10 UNDP, Human Development Report 2014: Sus-
craft, Political Studies 34 (1): 1939.
taining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities
and Building Resilience.
Butterfield, Herbert (1952) Christianity in
Human History. London: Collins.
Butterfield, Herbert (1960) International Con-
flict in the Twentieth Century: A Christian
View. London: Routledge.
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Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
Brian Hocking

The relationship between diplomacy and for- themselves, which is the focus of foreign policy.
eign policy is an intimate yet sometimes con- The distinction underpins Watsons definition
fused one. As Harold Nicolson noted when of diplomacy as the process of dialogue and
identifying five common usages of diplo- negotiations by which states in a system con-
macy, the two terms have been used inter- duct their relations and pursue their purposes
changeably (Nicolson 1939). He went on to by means short of war (Watson 1982: 11).
argue that this had led to uncertainties amongst The confusions that concerned Nicolson
the public regarding the essential differences have been thrown into greater relief and
between the two and, therefore, confused given a new gloss in the late twentieth and
expectations regarding their functions. If this early twenty-first centuries. A rapidly chang-
was a problem for diplomats in the era in which ing foreign policy environment in which the
Nicolson was writing, it remains so today. But meaning and content of the term is contested
it also characterises academic analysis. Here, poses major issues for all aspects of diplo-
foreign policy and diplomacy are commonly matic process, the actors participating in them
treated as interlinked components in a process and the institutions through which diplo-
through which the objectives of policies macy is conducted at all levels (Hill 2003;
directed towards the management of relations Webber and Smith 2002). Consequently, the
with an actors international environment are very constitution of foreignness is ques-
translated into outcomes through the employ- tioned in an environment in which processes
ment of a range of institutionalised techniques of deforeignisation affect policy content
and strategies mediated through a set of estab- and arenas as well as the norms, rules and
lished structures, rules and norms. At the same structures associated with the diplomacy of
time, diplomacy focuses on interactions the modern state era. Adapting the latter to
between actors rather than the actors new needs thrown up by complex processes

of globalisation, regionalisation and locali- up with changes in the character of social,

sation is part of the current agenda, as is political and economic structures at both
creating spaces in which new diplomatic domestic and international levels, the erosion
forms attuned to new needs can develop. of the boundaries demarcating them and con-
Hence the appropriateness of foreign policy sequent issues of agency. Commonly, these
and diplomacy as subjects for investigation issues are subsumed under the broad categori-
in an era preoccupied with global govern- sation of globalisation and the set of referents
ance are questioned, being regarded as rem- employed in discussions relating to it
nants of decreasingly relevant state-centred although their contours and implications are
approaches to understanding the contempo- contested (Clark 2014).
rary global environment (Smith et al. 2008; The significance of these changes and
Alden and Aran 2012). In this sense, foreign the linkage between the character of foreign
policy and diplomacy share a legitimacy policy and the consequent shape and forms
and efficiency problem which turns on their assumed by diplomacy over time is captured
effectiveness and appropriateness as foci of in two contrasting images taken from very dif-
academic enquiry as well as modalities of ferent historical contexts. The first comes from
managing complex international processes. Rebecca Wests acclaimed account of her trav-
Against this background, the follow- els in Eastern Europe in the 1930s, in which
ing discussion explores the relationship she describes a diplomatic system that of
between these two long-established features the Republic of Ragusa (latterly Dubrovnik)
of the international system, the parameters of which transcended the worlds of politics and
change affecting them, the consequences that diplomacy, regarding them as closely interwo-
these are having for the processes of diplo- ven in the quest for survival:
macy and the traditional norms and institu-
tional structures on which they rest. The Republic (Ragusa/Dubrovnik) was surrounded
by greedy empires whom she had to keep at arms
length by negotiation lest she perish: first Hungary,
then Venice, then Turkey. Foreign Affairs were her
domestic affairs; and it was necessary that they
LANDSCAPES OF FOREIGN POLICY should be conducted in complete secrecy with
AND DIPLOMACY enormous discretion. It must never be learned by
one empire what had been promised by or to
another empire, and none of the greedy pack
Mapping the nature of twenty-first century could be allowed to know the precise amount of
foreign policy and diplomacy requires us to the Republics resources. There was therefore every
grapple with their functions and structures in reason to found a class of governors who were so
an era of profound change in both domestic highly privileged that they would protect the status
quo of the community at all costs, who could hand
and international policy environments. But on training in the art of diplomacy from father to
the narratives surrounding diplomacy often son, and who were so few in number that it would
fail to help us make sense of this complexity. be easy to detect a case of blabbing. (West 1994)
Too often they obscure its fundamental char-
acter, equate it with the attributes of one Contrast this with Robert Coopers descrip-
period, namely that of the states system, tion of a post-modern diplomatic environ-
stress discontinuities at the expense of conti- ment encapsulated in the European Union:
nuities and confuse arguments about the
status of transitory diplomatic machineries The postmodern system does not rely on balance;
nor does it emphasize sovereignty or the separation
with those concerning the enduring character
of domestic and foreign affairs. The European
of its functions. This has produced a number Union is a highly developed system for mutual
of propositions regarding the nature of con- interference in each others domestic affairs, right
temporary diplomacy. Each of them is bound down to beer and sausagesMutual interference
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy 69

in some areas of domestic affairs and mutual those associated with the domestic policy
surveillanceis normal for postmodern states. sphere. Here, the concern with territorial
(Cooper 2004)
defence implies an identifiable collective
national interest, marking off one commu-
Whilst there are echoes in Wests description
nity from another and symbolically expressed
which resonate with our own times in terms of
in geographical borders. The growing signifi-
the close relationship between domestic and
cance of what, in the terminology of complex
foreign policy environments and the tran-
interdependence of the late 1970s, was desig-
scending of the political and the diplomatic
nated low policy manifested in economic/
arenas, Cooper presents a milieu marked by
ecopolitical agendas was reinforced by the
the transition from the emphasis on sover-
perceived shift from geopolitics to geoeco-
eignty, secrecy and hierarchy in the image of
nomics in the post-Cold War era.
Ragusan diplomacy to the centrality of mutual
Even before the events of the late 1980s
interference and mutual surveillance as key
and 1990s onwards, the highlow dichotomy
features of the twenty-first century diplomatic
was looking increasingly frayed, not sim-
environment. But, as Cooper suggests, this is
ply in the sense that what had hitherto been
only part of a broader, more complex picture
designated as low policy was becoming
in which pre-modern, modern and post-mod-
more salient, but because the very distinction
ern forms of foreign policy and diplomacy
appeared to be losing its utility as a means of
coexist. In other words, no single image fits
describing the substance of the policy envi-
the intricacies of contemporary world politics
ronment. Changing perceptions of the consti-
which comprise densely textured features of
tution of security among publics as well as
neo-medievalism, layers of modernism as
policy-makers were a major factor here. The
represented by determinedly modern states
demands for collective action in key areas
such as China and Russia alongside manifesta-
such as climate change, global pandemics,
tions of post-modernism.
global terrorism, international crime and the
Part of this growing complexity is rep-
challenges posed by fragile states became
resented by the redefinition of boundaries
identified in terms of a new international
demarcating the foreignness of foreign pol-
security agenda (NISA) wherein interna-
icy and the role and character of diplomacy
tional security is seen not simply in terms
as a component of the processes through
of the integrity and stability of the state, but
which it is managed. This touches on agendas
as the physical, psychological and economic
in an increasingly broad policy milieu which,
security and welfare of the citizen within it.
if not demolishing, obfuscates the nature of
The close interrelationship between these
the foreigndomestic policy distinction, the
agendas became even more marked in the
goals that international policies are intended
post-9/11 environment with a growing recog-
to serve and the characteristics of diplomatic
nition of the need to link the critical facets of
processes and structures (see also Chapters
foreign policy in the form of defence, devel-
11, 25 and 41 in this Handbook).
opment and diplomacy (Clinton 2010).
At the same time, however, the character
of these issues and the linkages between,
BOUNDARY EROSION AND THE for example, the problems of fragile states,
POLICY PROCESSES organised crime and terrorism constitute
uniquely challenging issues. What have been
Seen in its most conventional expression termed wicked issues are not susceptible to
foreign policy possesses a clear agenda, rational policy processes of problem defini-
heavily focused on military security and tion, analysis and solution often because
attended by policy processes distinct from there is no agreed definition of the problem.

Consequently, they defy generalised man- more closely linked in terms of the sources
agement prescriptions and demand tailored of policy inputs as a result of globalization
management strategies for each situation and regionalization. Additionally, changing
(Edwards 2008). agendas and the importance of social power
Associated with these developments enhance the role of civil society organisations
are three significant changes in the broad operating across national boundaries, fre-
goals of foreign policy which impact on the quently forming transnational coalitions and
conduct of diplomacy. First, the primary placing added demands on national govern-
imperatives of control associated with the ments (Higgott et al. 2000; Reinalda 2011).
dominance of states and territory-related Simultaneously, the internationalization of
issues have been overlain by the more subtle the domestic policy environment provides
demands of access to and presence within the authorities with resources for action at the
key nodes in an increasingly complex inter- collective as opposed to national level.
national environment. Second, the diverse A third dimension of the domestic
challenges confronting actors on the world international relationship focuses on arenas
stage not least the experience of the global of activity. The point here, following from
financial crisis are reflected in the grow- what has already been said, is that the political
ing emphasis on the capacity to absorb sud- arenas in which policy objectives are pursued
den and unexpected shocks that is to say are increasingly porous in the sense that both
resilience (Evans and Steven 2010; Cascio governmental and non-governmental actors
2009; Hudson 2009). This highlights the find themselves operating in subnational,
importance of key features of foreign policy national and international environments
processes including analytical capacity, col- simultaneously. Furthermore, groups and
laborative strategies and a commitment to even individuals are now able to operate at all
systems open to external inputs which, as we three levels, partly as a consequence of the
shall see later, have important consequences revolution in communications technology (de
for the character of diplomacy. Jong etal. 2005).
A further change in the foreign policy The impact of the shifting boundaries
environment is to be found in the mutabil- between domestic and international policy
ity of power and the growing importance of arenas is to create a continuum of policy
social power in world politics. This high- types which blend together differing ele-
lights the significance of discursive power ments of domestic and international influ-
in the form of shaping perceptions of the ences, variously located in subnational,
world through processes of issue framing, national and international arenas. Some
agenda setting and norm advocacy (van Ham areas of policy, especially those relating to
2010). This is not to say that other, more tra- military security, will tend towards situa-
ditional, conceptions of power are irrelevant tions in which policy-making is the preserve
but that, as van Ham puts it, a postmodern of a restricted cast of players and the inputs
eclecticism is appropriate to understanding from the domestic environment are more
the complexities of power underpinning the controlled. On the other hand, the NISA will
range of issues that constitute contemporary be marked by a plurality of influences and a
foreign policy and diplomatic processes (van high degree of domestication, often projected
Ham 2010: 21). across national boundaries through linkages
Closely related to the developments out- between groups in different national settings.
lined above is the redefinition of the assumed The evolving foreign policy environment
boundaries separating domestic and inter- also challenges boundaries imposed on the
national policy arenas. First, the domestic activities of and relationships between states
and international policy environments are and non-state actors. The debate between
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy 71

competing perspectives on international rela- agendas and participation by diverse actors.

tions is clearly reflected in discussions of This fluid and multilayered policy milieu
foreign policy and diplomacy. State-oriented weakens traditional assumptions regarding
perspectives have focused on the processes what foreign policy is, who is involved in
attaching to communication and information- it and where it is located (Christensen and
sharing between sovereign states, whilst glo- Petersen 2004) (see also Chapters 1, 2, 4 and
balist approaches emphasise the diminished 8 in this Handbook).
significance of the state and the enhanced
role of non-governmental actors. Latterly,
however, there has been a move towards Key Points
more subtle, less zero-sum inclined inter-
pretations of relationships between state and Traditional images of foreign policy have under-
non-state actors (Coward 2006; Bisley 2007). gone profound change in terms of agendas and
Rather than emphasising the separateness of the arenas in which it is conducted. Given the
linkages between them, these changes in the
the two, the emphasis has moved towards
constitution of foreign policy have significant
analysing the patterns of interaction between implications for diplomacy.
them and the complex relationship roles that Alongside agenda change, there have been key
they perform in different policy environments shifts in the modalities of power the rise of
(Hocking etal. 2012). social power which impact on the character
The redefinition of these various forms of and role of diplomacy.
boundary has had a major impact on the ways Additionally, redefinition of domestic
in which foreign policy is conceived, going international policy boundaries and closer
far beyond the heightened relative impor- linkages between governmental and non-
tance of economic as contrasted to military governmental actors has expanded the locations
security issues. Their significance is reflected in which diplomacy has to operate.
Consequently, unitary images of foreign policy
in debates regarding the appropriate perspec-
are weakened as the emergence of issue com-
tives to employ in analysing the conduct of plexes lead states (and non-states) to have a
foreign policy. The application of insights diversity of foreign policies.
from international political economy and
foreign economic policy has reinforced this
debate, focusing, for example, on the nature
of the state and the motivations economi- THE DIFFUSION AND REDEFINITION
cally rather than security related which OF DIPLOMATIC PROCESS
explain the ways in which actors behave both
domestically and internationally (Lee and Each of the developments concerning the
Hudson 2004). constitution of foreign policy is reflected in
The resultant images of foreign policy diplomacy conventionally regarded as the
that these trends are producing are ones that means through which foreign policies are
weaken clearly defined and unitary depictions effected. Indeed, the policy formulation
of foreign policy. Rather, as Williams has implementation distinction, always problem-
argued in the context of UK foreign policy, atic in any policy process, has become
we are confronted with a diversity of foreign increasingly so given the developments set
policies situated in interlinked and overlap- out above (Brighi and Hill 2008). As the con-
ping arenas and involving an extensive range tent and the locations of foreign policy have
of participants from the public and private become more extensive and the participants
spheres (Williams 2004). Additionally, these more diverse, so the feedback processes have
multiple foreign policies are located within become more densely configured. If the
issue complexes reflecting cross-cutting essence of diplomacy lies in its character as

institutionalised communication (Jnsson interactions between actors with clear and

and Hall 2005; Sharp 2009; Pigman 2010; defined interests, gradually moving towards
Bjola and Kornprobst 2013) then the patterns a point of convergence between those inter-
that define it have become hugely more com- ests, it is more akin to a management pro-
plex. This is reflected in the ways in which cess (Winham 1977). Here, actors are locked
our definitions of what diplomacy is and how together in the management of problems
it is deployed are responding. Here, tradi- marked by their technical nature, complex-
tional distinctions regarding diplomatic pro- ity, and uncertainty in terms of content and
cesses appear increasingly outdated and outcome, together with the bureaucratization
misleading. The familiar arguments about the of the processes through which negotiations
replacement of bilateral with multilateral proceed.
processes fail to recognise the significance of A consequence is that the diplomatic envi-
the interactions between them, changes in ronment becomes one in which a key test of
their purpose and the extended range of success for actors, both governmental and
actors involved in them. non-governmental, in achieving their objec-
Similarly, summit diplomacy is still tives is their capacity to develop strategic and
differentiated from other forms despite the tactical relationships to meet specific needs.
fact that it has become an increasingly com- Thus, for example, a test of diplomatic resil-
mon feature of diplomacy in which diverse ience is the ability to deploy co-optive power
actors, state and non-state, claim a place in through links with a diverse range of non-state
the shaping of diplomatic spaces such as entities (Nye 1990). Establishing and manag-
those offered by the G20 (Feinberg 2013; ing coalitions of the willing and sometimes
Martin 2013). At the national level, the shift- unwilling is regarded as a manifestation of a
ing parameters of foreign policy are reflected broader trend in diplomacy the challenging
in the reconstitution of established forms of of hierarchical structures by network forms
diplomacy in the face of new environments. and processes (Castells 1996; Metzl 2001;
The growing importance attached to consu- Slaughter 2004). Thus, instead of thinking of
lar work is one example (Okano-Heijmans international policy as an area dominated by
2011). On the one hand, this has a long his- governments and a relatively small group
tory predating the extensive diplomatic struc- of players within government we are pre-
tures associated with state building. But, on sented with policy networks comprising a
the other hand, what might be termed the diversity of actors, often dependent on the
new consularisation of diplomacy reflects nature of a specific issue, and constructed
the pressures confronting governments from to serve particular objectives. Moreover,
a potent mix of greater mobility of publics these networks embrace a diversity of actors
and expectations from these publics regard- located in various political arenas not deter-
ing the services governments should provide, mined by national boundaries.
the multiplicity of human and natural disas- One way in which these developments
ters, and the problem of defining the nature of are interpreted is the replacement of hier-
commercial diplomacy in an era of complex archical diplomatic forms and processes
economic interdependence. associated with the state by network forms
Another set of challenges for diplomacy and processes better attuned to the nature
derives from the fact that significant elements of modern societies and current global pol-
of the contemporary foreign policy agenda icy agendas (Hocking 2004; Heine 2008;
concerns issues whose very nature even Kelley 2010). Networks are seen as inclu-
existence is contested even before nego- sive, flexible and capable of tapping essen-
tiation can be brought to bear on them. Not tial knowledge resources that are no longer
infrequently, rather than diplomacy involving the monopoly of the state and its agencies.
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy 73

All levels of diplomacy reflect the growing policy agendas by developing dialogues
importance of global public policy networks. with relevant stakeholders. Domestically,
At the multilateral level, initiatives such as older notions of policy ratification through
the Global Compact redefining the relation- formalised processes are reconfigured as
ship between the UN, business and civil soci- international negotiation is paralleled by
ety are matched at the national level by the multilevel consultative processes involving
emphasis placed by foreign ministries on the key constituencies and on which successful
importance of stakeholder relationships in negotiation outcomes are increasingly
the management of foreign policy. Whilst a dependent (Evans et al. 1993; Webber and
common claim is that networks are replac- Smith 2002). The mainstreaming of public
ing older hierarchical organisational forms in diplomacy as an integrated component of
the conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy, the diplomatic environment and no longer a
reinforced by the growth of the Internet peripheral activity restricted to specialist units
and social media, in fact the two continue is one of the significant consequences of the
to operate in symbiosis with one another. changing environment in which foreign policy
Diplomatic networks themselves display is framed and conducted (Gregory 2008).
hierarchical characteristics and are multidi-
mensional phenomena assuming a variety
of forms determined by the nature of a spe-
Key Points
cific diplomatic domain. Thus some are more
heavily intergovernmental, possessing higher Foreign policy change has had a differential
levels of traditional hierarchical or club- impact on diplomatic process, challenging the
like characteristics, whilst private actors conventional distinctions maintained in termi-
dominate others (Coleman and Perl 1999). In nologies employed. Increasingly, complex prob-
short, networks are not an alternative to hier- lems lead to diplomatic negotiation assuming the
characteristics of a management process.
archy but different aspects of organisational
A key feature of this development has been an
design. Contemporary diplomacy requires increasing emphasis on the construction and
blends of hierarchical and network forms to maintenance of coalitions through networks
meet the challenges of a daunting interna- embracing both governmental and non-
tional agenda. governmental actors.
The centrality afforded to public Public diplomacy has become increasingly sig-
diplomacy within the diplomatic landscape, nificant and has both international and domestic
as demonstrated in other chapters in this dimensions.
Handbook (see Chapters 35, 42, 43, 44
and 50), is another consequence of the
changing agenda and power configurations
underpinning foreign policy. The logic of STRUCTURES OF DIPLOMACY
social power directs key diplomatic strategies
towards influencing varying publics, both The structures of diplomacy in any period
internationally and domestically. At both reflect the character of international policy
levels, public diplomacy strategies reflect the and the international and domestic environ-
hierarchynetwork debate. Thus, influencing ments in which they are located. As we have
international publics in the pursuit of foreign seen, the evolution of foreign policy in the late
policy goals demands supplementing twentieth and twenty-first centuries has
traditional strategies, in which communication emphasised the need for modes of collabora-
is a predominantly top-down process between tion frequently manifested in networks
senders and receptors of messages, with embracing an expanding cast of players,
interactive ones, where the goal is to influence both governmental and non-governmental.

Unsurprisingly, this presents challenges to policy agendas, it is more useful to view the
diplomatic structures as they grapple with the structures of national diplomacy as consti-
task of marrying established principles, insti- tuting a national diplomatic system (NDS)
tutional forms and modes of behaviour with comprising a diverse and fluid range of actors
changing demands (Hocking 2006). The and agencies amongst which the MFA plays
resultant pressures can be seen in all forms of a significant but not necessarily the dominant
diplomacy, from the national to the various role (Hocking 2012).
forms of multilateralism. In the case of the Consequently, the delineation of the NDS
latter, the need to accommodate growing and the relationship between its component
claims for involvement from civil society elements needs to be continually re-examined.
combined with the realities of rapid changes in For example, the increasingly critical link
communications technology has resulted in between diplomacy and development poses
what has been variously termed complex questions of organizational form and the
(OBrien etal. 2000; Badie 2012), Web 2.0 degree to which development and foreign
(Van Langenhove 2010) or, more colloquially, policy need to be linked. Whilst most
messy multilateralism (Haass 2010). Each of governments integrate their aid programs
these relates changing demands on interna- and their foreign ministries, in the US and
tional organisations with functional adaptation the United Kingdom (since the late 1990s),
and enhanced participation underscored by the the trend has been to separate them. Thus the
development of what is loosely termed digital US Agency for International Development
diplomacy (Seib 2012; Copeland 2013). (USAID) is not fully integrated into the State
Similar pressures are to be found at the Department, and the UK Department for
national level. Here, the picture is configured International Development (DFID) is separate
by the impact of systemic change on the role from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
and functions of the state and its agencies. Reinforcing the link between diplomacy and
Clark (2014) has identified the implications development through the strengthening of
of globalisation on what he terms the glo- what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has
balised state, whilst Jayasuriya analyses termed civilian power was a central theme
the impact of the rise of the new regulatory of the State Departments first Quadrennial
state (Jayasuriya 2004). Both draw attention Diplomacy and Development Review
to the internal consequences of globalisa- (Clinton 2010).
tion as it changes the architecture of the state Bureaucratic/political conflicts in foreign
and, in the case of Jayasuriya, the resultant policy management are part of the profile
fragmentation of diplomatic functions. It of the contemporary NDS. Here two broad
has always been the case that national diplo- trends are evident: fragmentation and con-
macy is a projection of complex relationships centration. Fragmentation indicates the
between a range of bureaucratic and politi- diversification of the NDS as sectoral min-
cal actors, including diplomats serving at istries found their responsibilities acquir-
overseas posts. These internal dimensions of ing enhanced international dimensions.
globalisation, including the diffusion of for- Alongside this situation, in many settings
eign policy management through the diplo- subnational authorities practice what has
matisation of line ministries alongside the come to be termed paradiplomacy, whilst
concentration of power and functionality a broader societisation of diplomacy occurs
at the centre of government, has resulted in as civil society gains an ever-greater pres-
growing uncertainty as to the role of the MFA ence in diplomatic processes. Concentration
(ministry of foreign affairs). Rather than denotes the enhancement of the foreign pol-
claiming pre-eminence for one government icy capacity of central agencies, particularly
department in managing complex foreign prime ministerial and presidential offices.
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy 75

Whilst this is partly a reflection of the grow- diplomacy requires the alignment of the three
ing significance of heads of state and govern- factors and for each NDS to establish a rep-
ment in diplomacy, it is also recognition of resentational matrix based on this frame-
the potential costs of lack of coordination in work. Increasingly, the form that diplomatic
the management of foreign policy and the presence assumes is being re-evaluated, as
desire to minimize its costs by centralizing small, flexible and quickly deployable posts
policy-making functions. are often better attuned to contemporary
Each of these developments is posing chal- needs than the traditional embassy (see also
lenges for the constitution and role defini- Chapters 7, 12, 13 and 21 in this Handbook).
tion of MFAs and their diplomatic services
(Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2011). As we have seen, many of the features Key Points
of twenty-first-century diplomacy challenge
traditional features of state-based diplomacy. Change in diplomatic processes is reflected in all
The emphasis on partnership, inclusive- layers of diplomatic institutions, global, regional
ness and transparency challenges the closed, and national.
Whilst the traditional focus of attention at the
guild-like characteristics of traditional diplo-
national level has been the ministry of foreign
macy and associated definitions of the role of affairs (MFA), each government has configured
the professional diplomat (Copeland 2009). an evolving national diplomatic system for the
Rather than that of a gatekeeper, policing management of foreign policy, in which the MFA
the boundaries between domestic and inter- is a subsystem.
national policy environments, an alternative The changing foreign policy environment chal-
role image more suited to the contemporary lenges many key assumptions about how diplo-
environment is that of the boundary-span- macy should be conducted, the roles performed
ner. This recongizes that boundaries between by professional diplomats and the nature of
organizations and policy arenas remain sig- diplomatic representation.
nificant but are fluid and continually reconsti-
tuting themselves, thereby becoming sites of
intense activity which demand a special role
for those capable of acting as linkage points. CONCLUSION
In such an environment, professional diplo-
mats can assume significant roles as media- The environments which foreign policy and
tors or brokers, facilitators and entrepreneurs diplomacy cohabit in the early twenty-first
(Hocking and Spence 2005). Doing so sug- century are marked at one level by processes
gests the growing importance of the capacity of deforeignisation of the international and
to develop strategic visions of global agen- foreignisation of the domestic policy milieus.
das, understanding growing conflicts over A redefinition of boundaries separating the
norms and rules, and the ability to establish two combines with a bewildering network of
and manage complex networks. linkages between policy arenas through
In terms of diplomatic representation, which actors relate to one another in a variety
determining the requirements of an effective of ways. Policy-makers are required to oper-
diplomatic network involves the juxtaposi- ate in an environment spanning subnational,
tion of three factors: First, what purposes national and international arenas, where the
is the network intended to serve? Second, achievement of goals at one level of political
which policy nodes do countries need access activity demands an ability to operate in the
to in performing these functions? Third, what others. Moreover, the challenges associated
modes of presence best serve the needs of with the configuration of contemporary for-
function, access and participation? Effective eign policy and diplomacy redefines the

relationships between governmental and Dunne, T. (eds), Foreign Policy: Theories,

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Diplomacy, Communication
and Signaling
Christer Jnsson

Communication is one of the logically neces- independence (Watson, 1982: 33) or the
sary conditions for the existence of interna- conduct of international relations by negotia-
tional relations. Without communication, tion (Berridge, 1995: 1). Students of negoti-
there is no diplomacy. In fact, diplomacy is ation have similarly pointed out that without
often defined in terms of communication. For communication there is no negotiation
instance, diplomacy has been understood as (Fisher and Ury, 1983: xi, 33) and that in
a regulated process of communication essence, international negotiation is commu-
(Constantinou, 1996: 25), the communica- nication (Stein, 1988: 222).
tion system of the international society To communicate, whether in a negotia-
(James, 1980: 942), or communication tion setting or not, diplomats send signals
among internationally recognized represent- intended to convey messages to their coun-
atives of internationally recognized entities terparts. As signals have no inherent meaning
(Bjola and Kornprobst, 2013: 201). or credibility, the message actually conveyed
is a matter of decoding and interpretation by
Communication is to diplomacy as blood is to the the receivers. Diplomatic signaling is verbal
human body. Whenever communication ceases,
as well as nonverbal. All social communica-
the body of international politics, the process of
diplomacy, is dead, and the result is violent conflict tion involves the transmission of messages to
or atrophy. (Tran, 1987: 8) which certain meanings are attached, and the
pristine form of diplomacy is the transmitting
Frequently, diplomacy is associated with a of messages between one independent politi-
specific subclass of social communication: cal community and another (Bull, 1977:
negotiation. Thus, diplomacy has been char- 164). As in all social communication, these
acterized as negotiations between political messages can be conveyed either by words or
entities which acknowledge each others gestures. Just as the verbal components in a

normal person-to-person conversation carry value. By way of analogy, diplomats are in

only part of the social message, so nonverbal the same predicament as students at one psy-
messages and body language constitute impor- choanalytically oriented school, who were
tant aspects of diplomatic communication. considered hostile if they came to class late,
Diplomatic signaling, in short, includes both anxious if they came early, and compulsive
what diplomatic agents say and what they do. if they came at the appointed time (Simons,
This is evident from the very first records 1976: 42). There is simply no escape from
of diplomatic communication. The Amarna producing message value.
Letters, a remarkable cache of diplomatic At the receiving end, the tendency to look
exchanges from the fourteenth century BC for message value in most verbal and non-
between the Egyptian court and other kings verbal behavior and non-behavior seems to
of the Ancient Near East, include many exam- rest on an implicit assumption of intention-
ples of both verbal and nonverbal messages ality (cf. Cohen, 1987: 20). Yet signaling
to which certain meanings were attached. does not necessarily imply intentionality.
For instance, the address of the clay tablets Even unconscious, unintended behavior and
in cuneiform script followed a pattern where non-behavior may convey messages in a dip-
the sender would name himself first only if he lomatic setting. Hence we may refer to sign-
was superior to or the equal of the addressee. aling whenever one actor displays behavior
Deviations were noted and given sinister inter- that is perceived and interpreted by another,
pretations. The exchange of gifts stands out as whether or not it is spoken or intended or
a prominent form of body language in early even within the actors conscious awareness.
diplomacy. Messengers in the Ancient Near This chapter will, first, take a closer look
East not only carried oral and written commu- at verbal and nonverbal communication,
nications between royal courts but also dis- respectively. It will then address the question
tributed presents among the rulers, the varying of whether clear or ambiguous messages or
values of which were perceived as symbols of both are characteristic of diplomatic signal-
status and relations (see Jnsson, 2000). ing. Another section will discuss the extent
The meanings of verbal and nonverbal to which, and in what ways, developments in
signaling may not be immediately obvious to communication technology affect diplomatic
the uninitiated observer, but require interpre- communication. Finally, different approaches
tation or decoding. Meaning does not reside to the study of diplomatic communication
in the message itself but is produced in inter- will be identified and summarized.
active processes between senders and receiv-
ers. Diplomatic expertise includes encoding
messages at the sending end and decoding
signaling at the receiving end. Diplomats are, VERBAL COMMUNICATION: A
as it were, intuitive semioticians, conscious COMMON DIPLOMATIC LANGUAGE?
producers and interpreters of signs (Jnsson
and Hall, 2005: 72; see also Chapter 1 in this We commonly associate diplomacy with lin-
Handbook). guistic skills. One may speak of a semantic
Diplomatic communication includes not obsession of diplomats resting on the reali-
only words as well as actions, but also silence zation that speech is an incisive form of
and inactivity. In fact, diplomatic actors know action (Eban, 1983: 393). Ancient Greece
well that whatever they say or dont say and can be seen as the forerunner of the verbal
whatever they do or dont do will be scruti- skills and eloquence associated with modern
nized and interpreted by others in the diplo- diplomacy. Diplomatic communication
matic community. Thus, words and silence as among the Greek city-states depended on
well as action and inactivity assume message direct and oral exchange and face-to-face
Diplomacy, Communication and Signaling 81

contacts between representatives. Moreover, common language of diplomacy arose until

communication was open and public, relying the eighteenth century, when French became
on oratorical skills. Celebrated orators, such the language of the European nobility and,
as Pericles and Demosthenes, were frequently by implication, the diplomatic language par
entrusted with diplomatic missions. prfrence. The multilateral conferences of
Diplomacy involves communication the twentieth century offered the English
between political units that are often sepa- language the first real opportunity to oppose
rated by different languages. To find a com- French linguistic supremacy (Ostrower, 1965:
mon diplomatic language has thus been a 356). While English has increasingly become
major consideration throughout the ages. the lingua franca of diplomatic communica-
The word communication, we may recall, tion, the vocabulary remains replete with
derives from the Latin verb communicare, French expressions (demarche, note verbale,
which means to make shared or common. charg daffaires, doyen, rapprochement, etc.).
The problem of achieving shared meanings Multilateral diplomacy represents a lin-
is central to diplomatic communication. The guistic challenge but has also generated crea-
quest for shared meanings has involved find- tive solutions. For instance, a constructive
ing a common language both in the purely distinction between working languages and
linguistic sense and, more importantly, in a official languages was introduced at the 1945
broader sociological sense. San Francisco Conference. Occasionally, lin-
As the use of different languages has been guistic variety can be an asset rather than a
a source of misunderstanding and discord liability. For instance, at the G20 meeting in
since the dawn of history, there have always St Petersburg in September 2013, which was
been efforts to develop a lingua franca of held at a time of growing USRussian tensions
diplomacy. Sumerian, the first known lin- over the Snowden affair and Syria, the Russian
guistic medium of culture and civilization in hosts avoided seating Barack Obama and
the TigrisEuphrates valley, was the earli- Vladimir Putin next to each other by not using
est language of diplomatic intercourse and the host country language, as is customary, but
expression (Ostrower, 1965: 164). From switching to English when placing the state
the third millennium BC until the time of delegates in alphabetical order. That way five
Alexander the Great, Akkadian became the leaders of other countries were seated between
recognized diplomatic language. Akkadian the Russian Federation and the United States.
was a rather peripheral Semitic language but Similarly, at the NATO summit in Prague in
had certain advantages over Egyptian hiero- November, 2002, the controversial Ukrainian
glyphs by using a more versatile cuneiform leader Leonid Kuchma, who was suspected of
script that was suitable for the clay tablets providing Iraq with radar equipment, appeared
on which diplomatic messages were written uninvited and would sit next to George W.
(Ostrower, 1965: 1323). When Akkadian Bush and Tony Blair if placed in alphabetical
ceased to exist as a living language, it was order following the English spelling of partici-
superseded by Aramaic, which had adopted pating countries. The embarrassing situation
alphabetical script, as the leading diplomatic was solved by changing to French, whereby
language (Ostrower, 1965: 18994). USA became Etats Unis and United Kingdom
Greek, and later Latin, became common Royaume Uni.
diplomatic languages in the wake of expand- Languages may be one source of com-
ing empires. When command of Latin began munication problems in diplomacy, and may
to be rare among European diplomats by occasionally contribute to their solutions. Yet
the early seventeenth century, conversa- far more important is the development of a
tions through interpreters became normal common language in terms of shared symbols
practice (Mattingly, 1955: 236). No other and references and intersubjective structures

of meaning and interpretation of words and Silence may send messages as well. For
actions. The institutionalization and profes- instance, Finlands policy vis--vis the Soviet
sionalization of diplomacy in the past few Union during the Cold War was often char-
centuries has entailed the development of a acterized as eloquent silence careful
distinct diplomatic subculture with mutually avoidance of signaling that might provoke
understood phrases and expressions. The rit- its powerful neighbor. One instance of conse-
ualized diplomatic language is characterized quential and carefully designed silence was the
by courtesy, non-redundancy and construc- US decision during the Cuban Missile Crisis
tive ambiguity. The emphasis on courtesy of 1962 to ignore and refrain from replying
has given rise to ironic definitions of diplo- to the second, less conciliatory of two con-
macy as the art of saying pleasant things to secutive letters from Khrushchev to Kennedy.
people you hate. Non-redundancy implies Whereas the first letter was perceived to be
that a diplomatic communication should written by Khrushchev personally, the second
say neither too much nor too little because letter was more formal and assumedly drafted
every word, nuance of omission will be by the Foreign Office. By responding only to
meticulously studied for any shade of mean- the first one, the United States strengthened
ing (Cohen, 1981: 32). Constructive ambi- Khrushchevs hand in the apparent internal
guity avoids premature closure of options. struggle in the Kremlin and contributed to a
Circumlocution, such as understatements peaceful resolution of the crisis.
and loaded omissions, permits controversial In sum, a carefully deliberated diplomatic
things to be said in a way understood in the language has evolved, which allows commu-
diplomatic community but without needless nication across a multitude of national cul-
provocation (cf. Cohen, 1981: 324). tures with a minimum of misunderstanding.
Diplomats, in short, have adopted a series The other side of the coin is that the meanings
of conventional expressions and idioms that, of diplomatic exchanges are not immediately
however amiable they may seem, convey obvious to outsiders (see also Chapters 17,
a message that their counterparts clearly 20, 36 and 40 in this Handbook).
understand. For example, a verbal or written
communication to the effect that the diplo-
mats government cannot remain indiffer- Key Points
ent to an international issue, is understood
to signal intervention; and the government There has always been a tendency to develop a
that expresses grave concern over a mat- lingua franca of diplomacy.
Linguistic plurality can be exploited for signaling
ter is expected to adopt a strong position
(Nicolson, 1977: 123). If a diplomat says my The professional diplomatic language is character-
government feels obliged to express reserva- ized by courtesy, non-redundancy and constructive
tions with regard to , it means that my ambiguity.
government will not allow (cf. Ishmael, Both words and silences send messages in diplo-
2013). In a multilateral conference setting, a matic communication.
phrase like While I have deep respect for the
distinguished delegate of , who has stated
his view with intelligence and conviction, I
must point out that can be interpreted as NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION:
I do not agree with the delegate of ; and DIPLOMATIC BODY LANGUAGE
I may have misunderstood the distinguished
representative of translates into The rep- Nonverbal signals have the advantage of cap-
resentative of has been talking nonsense turing the attention of a wider audience and
(Kaufmann, 1996: 162). of allowing greater flexibility and deniability
Diplomacy, Communication and Signaling 83

than verbal messages (Cohen, 1987: 3540). The choice of delegates to meetings also
Diplomatic body language encompasses a sends signals. Generally, a lower level of
wide variety of behavior, ranging from per- representation communicates coolness or
sonal gestures to the manipulation of military disapproval, a higher level respect or esteem
forces. (Cohen, 1987: 156). At the Moscow talks
Among personal gestures, a handshake leading to the Partial Nuclear Test Ban in
sends signals of friendly interstate relations. 1963, the selection of Averell Harriman to
A classical example is John Foster Dulless lead the US negotiating team sent positive
refusal to shake hands with Zhou Enlai at the signals, as Harriman was well known to the
1954 Geneva Conference, which was read by Soviets and had established a relation with
the Chinese as a signal of American rejection Khrushchev. In the words of one Soviet dip-
and harmed USChinese relations for years lomat at the Washington embassy, as soon
to come. Interestingly, when Henry Kissinger as I heard that Harriman was going, I knew
met Zhou Enlai seventeen years later in the that you were serious (Seaborg, 1981: 252).
process of opening USChinese diplomatic Many saw President Obamas attendance at
relations, Zhou inquired whether Kissinger the climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009 as
was one of those Americans who refused to a sign of policy change. Conversely, envoys
shake hands with Chinese leaders (Kissinger, of low rank may signal lack of respect. In
1994: 719). At the Oslo accord ceremony on one of the Amarna Letters, the Egyptian
the White House lawn in 1993, Yitzhak Rabin Pharaoh complains to the Babylonian king
knew he had no choice to avoid commitment who, instead of sending dignitaries, had
when Yasir Arafat stretched out his hand dispatched a delegation of nobodies, one
before the TV cameras broadcasting live to a of whom was an assherder (Jnsson, 2000:
world audience. Had he chosen not to accept 203). His reaction foreshadowed similar con-
the outstretched hand, it would have sent cerns at later international gatherings.
strong signals of lingering hostility. By accept- The travel schedule of statesmen can also
ing it, he made an equally strong commit- be part of nonverbal signaling. When Chinas
ment to friendly relations. President Obamas new president Xi Jinping made his first visit
handshake with Cuban leader Ral Castro at to the Korean peninsula in July 2014, he went
Nelson Mandelas funeral in December 2013 to Seoul rather than Pyongyang. In the diplo-
was commonly interpreted as a signal herald- matic community, this was interpreted as dis-
ing improved USCuban relations. content with Chinas North Korean ally. That
At the intermediate range, the venue same month Finlands new prime minister
and format of as well as attendance at Alexander Stubb chose Estonia, a neighbor
international meetings may send signals. with NATO membership, as the destination
The implied prestige conferred upon the of his first trip abroad rather than Sweden,
host has made the selection of venues prob- as is customary. As Stubb had been known
lematic throughout history. For instance, the to favor Finnish NATO membership, this
fifteenth-century meeting between Edward was perceived to have symbolic significance.
IV of England and Louis XI of France was Both these examples illustrate that it was
held on a bridge (Goldstein, 1998: 50). In both what was done and what was not done
the 1930s Neville Chamberlain conceded that created message value.
to Mussolinis insistence that negotiations Protocol, the body of customs governing
between Britain and Italy be held in Rome, the procedure and choreography of diplomatic
with Anthony Eden and the Foreign Office intercourse, is a convenient medium for non-
disagreeing on the grounds that this would verbal signaling. All deviations from ritualized
be regarded as another surrender to the dicta- forms and expressions send subtle signals. For
tors (Cohen, 1981: 3940). example, the rank of the welcoming or farewell

delegation for a visiting dignitary and the qual- (1966: 2): The power to hurt is bargaining
ity of state visit arrangements can be used to power. To exploit it is diplomacy vicious
signal esteem or lack of it (see Cohen, 1981: diplomacy, but diplomacy. The term coer-
38). When Egyptian President Anwar Sadat cive diplomacy is sometimes used to refer to
made his surprise visit to Israel in November threats or the limited use of force as a signaling
1977, the first Arab leader ever to visit the or bargaining instrument (George etal., 1971;
Jewish state, he was greeted at Ben Gurion George, 1991). The central task of such sig
airport by Israels Prime Minister Menachim naling is to create in the opponent the expec-
Begin and Israeli President Ephraim Katzir tation of costs of sufficient magnitude to erode
and a gun salute was fired in his honor. In his motivation to continue what he is doing
addition to a long meeting with Begin, Sadat (George, 1991: 11). President Kennedys
was allowed to address the Israeli parliament, choice of a naval blockade to signal determi-
the Knesset. When US President George Bush nation without risking war in the 1962 Cuban
announced that he would attend the funeral of Missile Crisis is a prominent example of coer-
Japans emperor Hirohito in 1989, this caused cive diplomacy (see, e.g., George etal., 1971:
a seating problem. According to protocol, the 98100). In the Yom Kippur War of 1973 the
heads of state were to be accorded preference US at one point ordered a worldwide military
by the date they assumed their positions, and alert including its nuclear forces, and a Soviet
Bush had only just taken office. This problem freighter, transiting the Bosporus en route to
was solved by treating the funeral as a cel- Alexandria, gave off neutron emissions, indi-
ebration of Hirohitos life rather than a state cating the possible presence of nuclear weap-
event. Thus, it was announced that heads of ons on board. On both sides these moves were
state would be treated in the order of coun- interpreted as signals, warning against uni-
tries Hirohito had visited, which gave the lateral intervention, and did not cause undue
US president a seat at the center of the front alarm (cf. Jnsson, 1984: 186, 188, 190).
row of attending heads of state (Goldstein, Naval forces have proven particularly use-
1998: 53). ful signaling instruments. Capable of con-
Conversely, when the Clinton admin- spicuous presence and withdrawal, they offer
istration tried to link renewal of Chinas readily perceived and understood signaling
most-favored-nation status to concessions opportunities (Cable, 1981: 67). The Six-
on human rights in 1994, Secretary of State Day War of 1967 was the first time Soviet
Warren Christopher received an eloquently and US warships operated in close proxim-
cool treatment on his visit to China: reception ity to each other during a major international
at the airport by a deputy foreign minister, no crisis. By circumscribing their preparedness
pomp, no public words of welcome, no ban- moves in various ways staying well clear
quet, and cancellation of the planned news of the battle zone, avoiding reinforcement of
conference (Cohen, 1997: 157). Similarly, amphibious and other offensive forces, and
when Putin came to the annual EURussian not interrupting or shortening scheduled port
meeting in Brussels in January 2014, the calls Washington and Moscow signaled
usual summit format starting with a welcom- their intentions to avoid military involvement
ing dinner and ending with a press conference (cf. Jnsson, 1984: 1667).
was abandoned in favor of a closed two-hour Often, nonverbal signals are used when
meeting with a small circle of participants. explicit verbal signals are politically incon-
This signaled EU concern about Russias role ceivable. One example is taken from the
in the burgeoning crisis in the Ukraine. buildup to the 1973 Yom Kippur War in
At the louder end of the scale, nonverbal the Middle East. Three days before the war
signaling involves the exploitation of military started, Soviet dependents and civilian per-
hardware. In the words of Thomas Schelling sonnel were hurriedly evacuated from Syria
Diplomacy, Communication and Signaling 85

and Egypt. As the evacuation was made in a signals, such as retaining flexibility and deni-
deliberately conspicuous manner, it could be ability or needing to take multiple audiences
interpreted as a tacit warning to Washington into account. At the same time, clarity and
of the impending attack and a signal that the precision are often called for. Diplomats have
Soviet Union was not involved in the final been characterized as specialists in precise
decision to go to war. At the same time, it and accurate communication (Bull, 1977:
could serve as a reminder to Egypt and Syria 179). In short, the tension between the need
not to expect direct Soviet intervention. The for clarity and the incentives for ambiguity
point is that Moscow could not have given impels diplomats to spend much time and
the United States an explicit warning without effort on the formulation and interpretation
openly acknowledging its complicity in the of signals.
Arab military preparations and betraying its Constructive ambiguity is a term that is
clients (see Jnsson, 1984: 1789). often associated with Henry Kissinger. Most
In the same way that silence may send sig- often it is used to denote the deliberate use
nals, so non-action can have message value. of vague language in an agreement to allow
For instance, the absence of signaling from opposing parties to interpret it in different
Moscow no military mobilization and no ways. But it may also refer to signaling that
actions in support of the incumbent regimes leaves future options open. For example,
was of vital importance for the developments such expressions as use our best endeavors
in Eastern Europe during 1989 (see also or take all possible measures leave consid-
Chapters 38 and 53 in this Handbook). erable leeway for discretion (Cohen, 1981:
33). A subtle example of signaling charac-
terized by constructive ambiguity dates back
Key Points to USChinese parleys preparing President
Nixons momentous visit to China. On one
Diplomatic body language ranges from personal of his trips to Beijing, Henry Kissinger was
gestures, via meeting and travel logistics, to the taken for an ostentatious public appearance
manipulation of military forces. at the Summer Palace in plain view of hun-
Protocol provides a convenient medium for non-
dreds of spectators. Among them was a North
verbal signaling.
Vietnamese journalist taking photographs, as
Coercive diplomacy involves the threat or limited
use of force as a signaling instrument. his host, Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, later told
Both actions and non-actions send messages in Kissinger apologetically. Zhou could thus
diplomatic communication. signal to North Vietnam and ensure that
Washington grasped that China would not
permit North Vietnams problems to stand in
the way of a rapprochement with the United
CLARITY VS AMBIGUITY States (Cohen, 1997: 152). In this example,
the Chinese were able to exploit nonverbal
It has been said that signaling is as essential signaling to send messages to multiple audi-
to diplomacy as to a busy airport, with the ences while retaining deniability.
crucial difference that there is much more Another example of carefully crafted ambi-
scope for ambiguity in diplomatic signaling. guity concerns the US reaction to the Soviet
Whereas ambiguous communication between military buildup along the Chinese border in
pilots and traffic controllers may be a prelude September 1969. President Nixon author-
to disaster, ambiguity is considered construc- ized a statement to the effect that the US did
tive and creative in diplomatic signaling (Bell, not seek to exploit for our own advantage
1971: 74). This needs to be qualified. There the Sino-Soviet conflict but was deeply con-
may be several incentives to send ambiguous cerned with an escalation into war. Denying

any intention to exploit the conflict signaled Secretary of State John Kelly stated in a con-
that the US had the capacity to do so and that gressional hearing that the US had no formal
the conflicting parties should do nothing to obligation to defend Kuwait in the event of
jeopardize US neutrality. The expression of an invasion.
deep concern conveyed that the US might Nonverbal signals tend to be more ambig-
assist in some unspecified way the victim of uous than verbal ones. Words, like gestures,
aggression. The statement was delivered by require interpretation; yet there is more
Undersecretary of State Elliot Richardson, latitude for misunderstanding in nonverbal
who was high enough in the hierarchy to signaling. One reason is that different cul-
leave no doubt that he was speaking on behalf tures ascribe different meanings to nonverbal
of the president while at the same time not so signals.
conspicuous as to challenge the Soviet Union
A gesture of approval in the United States may be
head on (Kissinger, 1994: 7234).
taken for a very rude sign in Egypt. A smile in
Ambiguity may, however, in some cases Japan may mark embarrassment rather than indi-
be destructive rather than constructive. The cate enjoyment. Even when the act or expression
prelude to the Suez War of 1956 offers a clas- itself the frown, the gift is common, rules of
sic example of counterproductive ambiguous legitimate display may differ. What is an appropri-
ate moment for tears in Egypt is one for self-
signaling. Divergent expectations colored the
restraint in the United States. An act of hospitality
main actors interpretation of each others in Mexico City may be seen as a bribe in
signaling. The firm belief of British Prime Washington. (Cohen, 1997: 154)
Minister Anthony Eden in US support, or
at least tacit acceptance, of military action At the interpersonal level, proxemics the
against Nassers Egypt caused him to misread signaling problems arising from the differ-
mixed and ambiguous US signals about the ences between cultures concerning physical
use of force if all other methods failed and to proximity and normal speaking distance
look for green light in messages that were not may affect diplomacy. One episode in the
intended as such. At the same time, Edens chain of events leading up to the Suez War is
reliance on the Munich analogy alerted him illustrative. In February 1955, British Prime
to behavior on Nassers part that reminded Minister Anthony Eden visited Cairo. One
him of the dictators of the 1930s while blind- photograph shows Egyptian President Gamal
ing him to other aspects of Nassers conduct, Abdel Nasser trying to hold the hand of the
whereas US Secretary of State John Foster clearly embarrassed Eden. In another picture
Dulless preoccupation with the Soviet Union Eden can be seen uneasily poised at the very
predisposed him to perceive Nassers Egypt as corner of a sofa with Nasser edging up to him
a pawn in a larger game (see Jnsson, 1991). and coming too close for his comfort. What
US signaling to Baghdad in the period constituted normal speaking distances and
before Iraqs invasion of Kuwait in 1990 is friendship gestures to the Egyptian, sent the
another example of ill-fated ambiguity. A wrong signals to the British nobleman. As
proposal for economic sanctions in response Eden knew Arabic and was no stranger to the
to revelations of Iraqs illicit acquisition of Middle East, Nasser took away the unfortu-
nuclear weapons parts was voted down by nate impression that his reserve was an inten-
the US Congress six days before the inva- tionally political signal of unfriendly relations
sion. Around the same time, US Ambassador (Cohen, 1987: 104).
April Glaspie told Saddam Hussein that the In sum, there is considerable scope for
US had no opinion on inter-Arab conflicts, intentional or unintentional ambiguity in dip-
which could have given him the impression lomatic signaling, which means that shared
that the United States would not intervene meaning the essence of communication is
if he attacked Kuwait. In addition, Assistant not always achieved. Diplomats have to be
Diplomacy, Communication and Signaling 87

content with saying both less and more than diplomats of their privileged role in commu-
they intend: less, because their verbal and non- nicating across state borders and has facili-
verbal signaling will never immediately convey tated direct communication among political
their meaning; more, because their signaling leaders. The speed of communication often
might convey messages and involve them in forces decision-makers to react instanta-
consequences other than those intended (see neously to international events, bypassing
also Chapter 11 in this Handbook). traditional diplomatic channels. Whereas
President Kennedy in 1961 could wait eight
days before commenting publicly on the
Key Points erection of the Berlin Wall, President Bush
was compelled to make a statement within
Carefully crafted ambiguity can be constructive, hours of its dismantling in 1989 (McNulty,
but frequently ambiguity is destructive. 1993: 67).
Nonverbal signals tend to be more ambiguous Television and other electronic media may
than verbal ones.
affect diplomacy in uncontrollable ways, but
Diplomats tend to say both less and more than
may also be exploited for diplomatic signaling
they intend.
purposes (cf. Jnsson, 1996; Gilboa, 2001).
Media diplomacy has become a familiar
term. The new media offer opportunities for
THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY diplomats to communicate to a global audi-
ence, while at the same time depriving them
The development of available means of com- of their signaling monopoly across state bor-
munication and transportation has affected ders. Signaling via the new media takes the
diplomatic signaling in various ways. Most indirect route via public opinion. Diplomatic
importantly, the speed of diplomatic commu- signaling then tends to become a public rela-
nication has varied over time. In the Ancient tions exercise whereby various actors try to
Near East, diplomatic missions could take influence the public attitudes and opinions
years to complete, and communication over that bear on another governments foreign
great distances traveled slowly well into the policy decisions (Grunig, 1993: 142).
nineteenth century. It was only with the tech- Signaling via electronic media often
nological evolutions in the past few centuries implies a loss of flexibility. Broadcast signals
that the premises of diplomatic communica- tend to incur commitments. In November
tion changed dramatically. The invention of 1977 President Sadat underscored his will-
the telegraph permitted fast and direct com- ingness to visit Jerusalem and speak to the
munication between governments as well as Knesset in an interview with American jour-
between foreign ministries and embassies. nalist Walter Cronkite. Im just waiting for
When the first telegram arrived on the desk the proper invitation, he told the world in the
of British Foreign Minister Lord Palmerston satellite broadcast. Interviewing the Israeli
in the 1840s, he reputedly exclaimed: My prime minister later the same day, Cronkite
God, this is the end of diplomacy! (Jnsson asked Begin for his reaction to Sadats state-
and Hall, 2005: 91). The rapid speed of com- ments. Begin assured that he would meet
munication was seen to endanger the careful Sadat cordially and let him talk to the par-
reflection that is the hallmark of good diplo- liament. By making the statements on inter-
macy. New, electronic media have further national television and not via secret cables
compressed the time and distance separating passed through foreign diplomats, the two
the worlds states (Roberts, 1991: 113). leaders essentially made a public commit-
The remarkable revolution in information ment to the world to hold the unprecedented
and communication technology has deprived meeting in Jerusalem.

By highlighting the visual elements of the repertoire of signaling instruments while

messages, television and other media have adding time pressure and making the differ-
enhanced the symbolic and metaphorical ele- entiation among audiences and the preserva-
ment of diplomatic signaling. The enhanced tion of confidentiality more problematic. Yet
significance of nonverbal communication, the basic premises of diplomatic communica-
beyond the conventions of traditional diplo- tion searching for the optimal combination
matic language, has enhanced the difficul- of verbal and nonverbal instruments, of noise
ties of signaling to different audiences. For and silence, and of clarity and ambiguity
example, Saddam Husseins signaling via remain (see also Chapters 9, 35, 43 and 44 in
television during the Gulf War may have this Handbook).
been successful vis--vis certain Arab audi-
ences, but it estranged Western viewers.
The videotape provided by Iraq to CNN, in Key Points
which Saddam, dressed in civilian clothes,
visited British guests (hostages) and pat- Historically, technological changes affecting
ted the head of a reluctant five-year-old boy, diplomacy have primarily concerned the speed of
acquired notoriety. To many in the West, it communication.
Recent technological developments tend to chal-
recalled pictures of other smiling dictators
lenge the privileged role of diplomats in transbor-
patting the heads of children and reinforced der communication and endanger flexibility and
the prevalent Saddam-as-Hitler metaphor. confidentiality.
While facilitating information gathering,
the Internet and social media present new
challenges to diplomatic communication.
Terms such as cyber diplomacy, digital APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF
diplomacy and e-diplomacy are gaining DIPLOMATIC COMMUNICATION
currency. Often they refer to efforts at reach-
ing out to other audiences than governments Different analytical tools have been used in
and are seen as new forms of public diplo- the scholarly study of diplomatic communi-
macy. Increasingly, diplomats are active in the cation. Raymond Cohen (1987) has sug-
blogosphere, becoming tweeting Talleyrands gested that it can be understood in terms of a
(Fletcher, 2013: 43). This new form of signal- theater metaphor. Just as in the theater, dip-
ing to a wider audience may be more lively lomatic communication takes place within a
and engaging than traditional diplomatic com- setting contrived for that purpose. In the
munication, but the lack of nuances and need performance, actors manipulate gestures,
for oversimplification entail risks. For exam- movements and speech to conjure up a desir-
ple, the active tweeting by former Swedish able impression for a watching audience.
Foreign Minister Carl Bildt engendered criti- Policy-makers and their aides assume the
cism both abroad and at home for using for- role of producers or stage managers, molding
mulations that were unnecessarily drastic. the total performance.
Secrecy and confidentiality seem to be Discursive approaches focus on diplo-
endangered by the digital revolution. The matic signaling as speech acts or discursive
unauthorized release of some 250,000 US practices, inspired by Michel Foucault and
State Department documents by WikiLeaks in Michel de Certeau (Neumann, 2002); or
2010 revealed the vulnerability of electronic communicative action, drawing on Jrgen
storage of confidential diplomatic records. Habermas (Lose, 2001). The central chal-
At the same time, it has made the exchange lenge to Iver Neumann is to re-combine the
of confidential information more risky. In study of meaning with the study of practice
sum, the advent of new media has expanded (Neumann, 2002: 630). Lars Lose argues that
Diplomacy, Communication and Signaling 89

diplomatic communication, understood as schemata). Attribution theory, which deals

communicative action, produces and repro- primarily with the perception of causation,
duces what Habermas labels a lifeworld, is of relevance to the study of how receiv-
which comprises the linguistically acquired ing agents answer the question why did
and organized stock of patterns of understand- they send that signal? To be persuasive, sig-
ing and, hence, constitutes an intersubjective nals need to be not only communicated but
structure of collective understandings that also deemed credible. Receiving agents ask
enables meaningful communication (Lose, themselves do they say what they mean,
2001: 185). and do they mean what they say? To verify
Game theoretically inspired analyses make or falsify other actors signals, receiving
a distinction between cheap and costly actors rely on various indices, believed to
signals. It is based on the observation that be beyond the ability of the actor to control
the signaling actor must suffer some costs for the purpose of projecting a misleading
for sending the signal if it is to be credible. image (Jervis, 1970: 26). Capability, domes-
Actors can send credible signals either by tic events and information received through
tying hands, that is, creating ex post audi- clandestine channels are examples of indi-
ence costs for bluffing; or by sunk costs, ces used to assess credibility in diplomatic
creating financially costly moves. Costly communication. The study of interpretations
signals are those that come with high levels of signals, in short, can draw on theories of
of tying hands and/or sunk costs, whereas human perception (see, e.g., Jervis, 1970,
cheap signals have low levels of tying 1976; Jnsson, 1990).
hands and sunk costs because they do not In sum, there is no paradigmatic approach
require the signaling actor to make any sig- to diplomatic communication. However, as
nificant investment to reinforce its position this sketchy overview suggests, there is a
(see Fearon, 1997: 6970). store of applicable analytical tools and ample
Semiotics, the study of signs and the room for more theory-driven, systematic
way they acquire meaning, seems relevant studies of diplomatic communication.
to the study of diplomatic communication.
Semioticians emphasize the arbitrary nature
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Diplomatic Agency
R e b e c c a A d l e r- N i s s e n 1

INTRODUCTION diplomatic agency has been conceptualized;

secondly, present and exemplify major and
Politicians often complain about the passiv- overlapping types of diplomatic agency,
ity of diplomats. John F. Kennedy grumbled including communication, negotiation and
that US diplomats never came up with any advocacy; thirdly, examine how diplomacy
new ideas: the State Department is a bowl of has developed as a profession from envoys
jelly (Sofer 2001: 107). In contrast to mili- of kings to trained career diplomats; fourthly,
tary and political leaders, diplomats are often analyze how the personalization and popular-
portrayed as pathetic heroes (Sofer 2001). ization of diplomacy has shaped diplomatic
Meanwhile, diplomats tend to find politi- agency with the rise of public diplomacy
cians irresponsible and ignorant of world and new media technologies; and, finally,
politics, hindering diplomatic work. Can discuss how diplomatic agency is linked to
diplomats be considered agents? If so, what conceptions of diplomatic representation in
does diplomatic agency imply? its actual, functional and symbolic forms.
Clearly, diplomatic agency is constrained.
The diplomat acts within a restricted reper-
toire, but remains an object of public wrath
and may be a target of aggression as a sym- CONCEPTUALIZING DIPLOMATIC
bolic representative of his or her nation AGENCY
(Sofer 2001: 110). Yet, as this chapter will
show, there is room for different kinds of Traditionally, diplomacy is the organized
agency in diplomatic affairs. To analyze conduct of relations between states
diplomatic agency, the chapter will, firstly, (Henrikson 2013: 118), making states the
provide an overview of the ways in which principal agents in diplomatic affairs.
Diplomatic Agency 93

However, states cannot act on their own in implementation. Foreign policy activities
the international arena; instead they operate increasingly concentrate around prime min-
through organizational agencies (foreign ser- isters and presidents, directly instructing or
vices) and individual agents (diplomats) sidelining the foreign ministries. Moreover,
(Faizullaev 2014: 279). Moreover, non-state written and unwritten rules regulate relations
actors crowd the diplomatic scene. Among between these groups of individuals and insti-
the rapidly expanding types of actors, we tutions. Because such rules are often locally
find sub-national and regional authorities negotiated, the scope for diplomatic agency
such as Catalonia, multinational corporations cannot easily be put into an abstract formula.
such as Nestl, celebrities such as George In poorer countries, the lack of trained per-
Clooney, who is a UN Messenger for Peace, sonnel, resources and national stability limits
as well as non-governmental organizations the room for diplomatic maneuver considera-
including Independent Diplomat and bly, both in terms of the number of diplomatic
Transparency International and regional and staff and missions and in the actual conduct of
intergovernmental organizations such as the diplomacy (Anda 2000: 124). Also, in richer
World Health Organization (WHO), the countries, diplomatic agents often find domes-
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and tic interactions and negotiations, including
ASEAN. All of these agents are involved in the fight for resources and money, to be even
diplomacy, but what do we mean when we more complex and cumbersome than inter-
talk of diplomatic agency? national ones. Last, but not least, increased
involvement of broader society and the 24/7
live media coverage of foreign policy events
Structural limits to diplomatic put structural limits on diplomatic agency.
Previously, decision-makers and leaders had
more time to understand a crisis situation,
An agent can be understood as an individual examine the evidence, explore various options,
or collective unit that commits an act of con- and reflect before choosing among them. As
sequence upon its environment (Kelley 2014: Graham T. Allison writes, looking back at the
4). Agency is thus the capacity of an agent (a Cuban Missile Crisis: In 1962, one of the first
person or other entity, human or any living questions Kennedy asked on being told of the
being in general) to act in a world. In the missile discovery was, How long until this
social sciences, agency is generally concep- leaks? McGeorge Bundy, his national security
tualized as the opposite of structure, which is adviser, thought it would be a week at most
seen as a force that organizes the actors so (Allison 2012: 16). Today, confidentiality is
that their actions fall in a certain social order. measured not in days, but in hours. This puts
Structure is, to borrow John G. Ruggies enormous pressure on political leaders and
notion, what makes the world hang together diplomats to act fast sometimes too fast (see
(Ruggie, quoted in Kelley 2014: 4). also Chapter 36 in this Handbook).
Diplomatic agency, whether performed
by individuals or groups, is thus necessarily
constrained by structure. This structure may Diplomatic agency in
take both material and ideational forms. For international law
instance, foreign office staff work in multi-
organizational settings that usually comprise One particularity of diplomats is that they act
a presidential administration, other govern- on behalf of the state: This does not mean
mental agencies, a parliament, a ministry that the state and the individual becomes one,
of foreign affairs and an embassy, affect- but rather by, for example, representing
ing foreign policy decision-making and France to a foreign state or an international

organization, a French diplomat performs as prosecution by Augusto Pinochet. Following

France (Adler-Nissen 2014a: 623). One of the 1973 coup, the ambassador took a
the challenges in conceptualizing diplomatic Swedish flag in hand and marched up to the
agency is therefore to distinguish diplomatic Cuban embassy that was under fire by tanks
agency of a foreign minister or ambassador and fetched refugees out of the embassy, took
from the agency of the foreign ministry, them to the Swedish embassy and got them
embassy, or country he or she represents. In out of the country safely. Similar examples
diplomacy, individuals are often institution- of exceptional diplomatic agency (indeed
alized (a head of state, minister, or ambassa- heroism) can be found across the globe.
dor is not just an individual but an institution, Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat
too), and institutions are individualized (they who served as Vice-Consul for the Empire
may function differently when headed or of Japan in Lithuania. During World War II,
presented by different individuals). Any new Sugihara wrote travel visas that facilitated the
foreign minister or ambassador inevitably escape of more than 6,000 Jewish refugees
brings personality to the job (think of the dif- from Lithuania to Japanese territory, risk-
ference between Madeleine Albright and ing his career and his familys lives (Levine
Colin Powell) while also functioning within 1996). This is a form of diplomatic agency
a certain organizational framework, having made possible by diplomatic privileges codi-
to use particular diplomatic tact and man- fied in international law, but it may require
ners, and carrying the states identity, values, disregarding instructions (or exploiting lack
and interests (for a discussion of diplomatic of instructions). Both Edelstam and Sugihara
agency, see Faizullaev 2014). did what they found morally right, not what
Diplomatic agency is thus distinctive their states had instructed them to do (see
because the diplomat (still) represents the also Chapters 15 and 16 in this Handbook).
sovereign (LEtat cest moi). This sov-
ereignty logic has been formalized in
international law, including in the Vienna Theorizing diplomatic agency
Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961),
which specifies the privileges that enable dip- Most IR scholars, including neo-realists and
lomats, ministries of foreign affairs, embas- neo-liberalists, do not accord diplomats
sies, governments and envoys to perform much attention. For them, material resources
their functions (Gardiner 2003: 339). The tend to define much of what goes on in world
Vienna Convention also clarifies the institu- politics. However, IR theory features at least
tion of diplomatic immunity, which is crucial five exceptions to this dismissal of diplo-
for diplomatic agency because it ensures that matic agency: the English School, rationalist
diplomats are given safe passage and are not game theory, foreign policy analysis, the
susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under practice turn and post-structuralism.
the host countrys laws. Diplomatic immu- In contrast to most of mainstream IR,
nity thereby allows the maintenance of dip- the English School has always granted
lomatic agency during periods of strained diplomacy a key role. Hedley Bull (1977)
relationship or even armed conflict. highlighted diplomacy as one of the five
Diplomatic immunity also makes it pos- institutions integral to international society.
sible for individual diplomats to take excep- Without diplomacy there would be no com-
tional forms of action. For instance, during munication between states and without com-
the 1970s, the Swedish ambassador Harald munication, no international society. Other
Edelstam, who was posted in Chile, helped English School theorists elevated diplomatic
thousands of Cuban diplomats, Uruguayan agency to a (potentially) virtuous art. Most
refugees and Chilean political activists escape prominently, Paul Sharp suggests that there
Diplomatic Agency 95

are particular diplomatic values of charity agent (e.g. ambassadors or diplomats) (See
and self-restraint, which can help political also Chapter 38 in this Handbook.)
leaders who work under terrible pressures Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) explicitly
and have to respond to multiple constituen- puts emphasis on diplomatic agency. Valery
cies and considerations, and whose motives Hudson has argued that FPA constitutes
are not always of the finest (Sharp 2003: the very micro-foundation for international
875). Political decision-makers therefore relations because foreign policy analysis
need to be surrounded by virtuous advisers is characterized by an actor-specific focus,
and agents embodying and advocating the based upon the argument that all that occurs
values of diplomacy (Sharp 2003: 875; see between nations and across nations is
also Chapters 8 and 14 in this Handbook). grounded in human decision makers acting
In contrast, game theory assumes that singly or in group (Hudson 2005: 1). What
each state is a rational actor concerned with FPA brings to the study of diplomatic agency
promoting its national interests, and diplomatic is particularly the idea that the cognition
agency is understood as tactical moves in a and information processing of decision-
game, which are calculated by the players or makers are crucial. Graham T. Allisons
negotiators. In Putnams (1988) perspective, (1971) work on the Cuban Missile Crisis and
the two-level game gives the diplomat Robert Jervis (1976) research on perceptions
negotiator leverage and the possibility of and misperceptions in foreign policy are
pursuing the chief negotiators interest, but pioneering in this respect. Today, FPA scholars
that room for maneuver is constrained by build on political psychology, examining
structure (i.e. the role of domestic preferences leader types, cognitive constraints etc., while
and coalitions, domestic political institutions also taking geopolitics, bureaucratic politics
and practices, the strategies and tactics and organizational culture into account (e.g.
of negotiators, uncertainty, the domestic Mouritzen and Wivel 2012).
reverberation of international pressures). IR constructivists argue that diplomatic
Other diplomatic scholars have borrowed agency, as any other social activity, is not a
ideas from principal-agent theory (first product of immutable scientific laws, but is
developed by economists in the 1970s, see rather the result of learning and socializa-
Miller 2005: 205) to understand diplomatic tion that create relationships, identities and
agency. Diplomats, as Christer Jnsson and perceptions that condition the actions taken
Martin Hall note, whether in bilateral or by actors in world politics (Jackson 2004).
multilateral forums, always negotiate on behalf This leads to an understanding of diplomatic
of others, in the sense that they are agents of agency, which sees diplomatic negotiation not
a principal with ultimate authority, be it an just as bargaining, but also as changing per-
individual king or a collective government ceptions and continuous interaction, learning
(Jnsson and Hall 2005: 84). A principal and and adaption (Checkel 2005). In other words,
an agent are considered individuals who enter diplomacy is where beliefs about state inter-
into a specific relationship: the first gives ests and capacities are enacted, reproduced
instructions and the second executes them in and changed.
order to achieve the goals set by a superior. More recently, scholars engaged in the
Accordingly, diplomatic agency is studied as practice turn of IR have accorded diplomatic
actions, which determines the payoff to the agency a much larger role than IR scholars
principal. To analyze the agency of diplomats normally do. They have argued that diplo-
in this way, one can for instance focus on matic practice is constitutive of world politics
information asymmetry, which prevents the (Sending etal. 2015). Practice scholars focus
principal (e.g. government, president, or on everyday habits and professional codes
Congress) from successfully monitoring the that are central to diplomacy. They have

analyzed how diplomats identify competent oneself from the sides. Practical experiences
and incompetent behavior, building on partic- with conflict-mediation show how difficult it
ipant observation and interviews (Adler and is to preserve the legitimacy from the interstitial
Pouliot 2011; Neumann 2012; Adler-Nissen and not be drawn into the conflict (see also
and Pouliot 2014). In practice theory, the Chapters 1, 3 and 11 in this Handbook).
logic of diplomatic agency is neither one of Notwithstanding these important advances
consequence, nor of appropriateness, but of in the theorization of diplomatic agency,
practicality (Pouliot 2008). For instance, offi- much work remains to be done to excavate the
cials engaged in the multilateral diplomacy of agency involved in the conduct of diplomacy.
the UN will tacitly come to know their place
in the international pecking order despite
the formal sovereign equality of all member Key Points
states (Pouliot 2011). Similarly, national dip-
lomats working in Brussels will experience, in IR theories have generally bracketed diplomacy,
an embodied sense, that new proposals need concentrating instead on the material distribu-
to be framed as European interests to carry tion of resources or the development of norms
and ideas, thereby assuming that diplomatic
weight at the Council of Ministers (Adler-
agency is limited and unproblematic.
Nissen 2014a). Some IR-oriented approaches accord more impor-
Post-positivists such as James Der Derian tance to diplomacy: The English School claims that
(1987) and Costas Constantinou (1996) build diplomacy is one of the constitutive institutions
on post-structuralist insights on subjectivity of international society; rationalist game theory
and identity and have problematized the abil- argues that bargaining and negotiation are crucial
ity of diplomatic representatives to speak fully for world politics; foreign policy analysis insists
for the sovereign. A diplomatic representative on individuals role in foreign policy decisions;
can never be regarded as an authentic surro- poststructuralists investigate the very possibility
gate for the sovereign. Departing from a con- of articulating diplomatic agency and practice
ceptualization of diplomacy as the mediation theory points to the crucial role of diplomats in the
everyday performance of world politics.
of estrangement, they have explored how rep-
The study of diplomatic agency will benefit from
resentatives, as go-betweens, are influenced more explicit and systematic theorizing as it has
or captured by their host nation. Recently, largely been examined through case studies,
they have promoted what they call sustain- anecdotal accounts and historical analyses with
able diplomacy that emphasize practices of limited attention to theory.
self-knowledge and [is] open to identity trans-
formation (Constantinou and Der Derian
2010: 2). Constantinou has argued that:
Diplomacy changes face, posits a different ontol- COMMUNICATION, NEGOTIATION,
ogy, whenever its practitioners conceive them-
selves as being on the side or in the middle [] ADVOCACY
when the diplomat sees him or herself as being in
the middle, they promote mediation or activity Diplomatic agency as
that brings different sides together [] in a con- communication
structive relationship. (Constantinou 2013: 145)
Communication is probably the most funda-
Accordingly, two-sided diplomats or double- mental form of diplomatic agency. Following
agents gain their legitimacy from the the invention of the institution of residential
interstitial from the international or diplomacy in the fifteenth centurys Italian
intercommunal making the most of not city-states, a nations diplomat is required to
taking sides or by functionally distancing function as his or her countrys eyes, ears and
Diplomatic Agency 97

voice abroad (Cooper et al. 2013: 2). have demonstrated the importance of personal
Gathering information on the local scene and leadership for negotiation processes. For
reporting it home is still seen as one of the example, it is apparent from the correspondence
most important functions of the resident between Kennedy and Khrushchev during the
embassy (Jnsson and Hall 2003: 197). Cuban missile crisis that they (and their
However, the job as a communicator is not advisors) were trying to figure out how they
just about reporting home or gathering intel- could both retain personal and national honor
ligence, but also delivering the message and in relation to each other and globally (Ting-
being aware of national interests and influ- Tooney 1990). But behind-the-scenes
encing foreign governments and publics negotiations are rarely subjected to direct
through meetings, workshops, interviews to observation and remain under-theorized.
the local media, dinners, receptions, cultural The advent of more open and multilat-
events and parties. In other words, the main eral diplomatic negotiation does not detract
activity involved in the role as communicator from the importance of skillful negotiation
is message-delivery, which requires intelli- techniques. Effective diplomatic negotiation
gence, networking, tact, discretion, team- is still often undertaken in private, without
work, creative imagination, etc. the intrusion of competing preoccupations
In ancient times, when direct consultations and loyalties. In a study of the negotiations
and back-and-forth communications were in the UN Security Council and NATO that
not feasible, the monarch or republic was far led to the international intervention in Libya
more dependent on the ambassadors skills in 2011, Rebecca Adler-Nissen and Vincent
and judgments when it came to communica- Pouliot (2014) found that, in crisis negotia-
tion. When the first telegram landed on the tion, countries may rely on their permanent
British foreign minister Lord Palmersons representatives whose positions emerge from
desk in the 1840s, he reportedly declared: mutual trust and local moves in New York
My God, this is the end of diplomacy and Brussels just as much as from national
(Dizard 2001: 5). The telegraph changed instructions.
diplomatic practice, but it did not make the A particular type of negotiation is linked
diplomat-as-communicator obsolete. Today, to conflict resolution. Here, those in conflict
cheap flights and communication technol- seek the assistance of or accept an offer of
ogy, including e-mail, telephones, Skype and help from an outsider to mediate (Ahtisaari
video calls, have limited the autonomy of the and Rintakoski 2013: 338). The UN has been
resident diplomat. Information overload and a principal actor in the peace-making scene,
new actors have made the monitoring of dip- using the Secretary-General and his represent-
lomats by the capitals more difficult, as the atives. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold
chapter will explore further below (see also was known to play up his agency. For
Chapter 6 in this Handbook). instance, Hammarskjold engaged in extensive
coalition-building, creating alliances between
member states through intensive traveling to
capitals, building trust and access and oper-
Diplomatic agency as negotiation
ated at several levels of diplomacy (see also
Negotiation is the second major type of Chapter 17 in this Handbook).
diplomatic agency. When diplomacy takes
the form of negotiation be it bilateral or
multilateral diplomats become more explicit Diplomatic agency as advocacy
agents. They are involved in a back-and-forth
process, requiring an additional set of skills to It is not new that diplomats focus on the
that of the communicator. Numerous studies broader public and try to achieve change

through persuasion, i.e. though advocacy. In Advocacy involves the promotion of national
the eighteenth century, an increasing sense interests through strategic partnerships with
developed among statesmen of a public NGOs and companies and through public diplo-
below the state whose opinion mattered for macy. Many countries now team up with NGOs,
diplomacy (Mitzen 2005). The diplomatic companies and individuals engaged in various
forms of lobbying.
scene is increasingly on public display as
interrelated revolutionary changes in politics,
international relations and mass communica-
tion have greatly expanded the role of publics
in foreign policy. More recently, the increased PROFESSIONALIZATION,
visibility of foreign policy made possible by PERSONALIZATION AND CHANGING
new communication technologies has led to a CONCEPTIONS OF REPRESENTATION
focus on soft power (Nye 2004), public
diplomacy (Melissen et al. 2005), nation- The fundamental question regarding the pro-
branding (Van Ham 2001) and social media fessionalization of diplomacy is who gets to
in diplomacy (Seib 2012). be considered as a diplomat. Traditionalists
Oriented towards a wider public, diplomatic cling to the view that only official state repre-
advocacy can take many forms. Former US sentatives are diplomats, but a lot of diplo-
ambassador to the UN, John R. Bolton, finds matic action is taking place outside traditional
that diplomats have lost sight of the promo- diplomatic institutions such as embassies and
tion of national interests and advocacy (Bolton foreign services. Non-state actors, from pri-
2007). Advocacy, however, can also mean vate companies to non-governmental organi-
more sophisticated promotion of national inter- zations, and other parts of the state apparatus
ests through strategic partnerships or public increasingly engage in their own separate
diplomacy. Many countries now team up with diplomatic activities. Today, most ministries
NGOs, companies and individuals engaged in have their own skilled international secretari-
various forms of lobbying and advocacy, from ats that uphold relations with their peers in
the Red Cross to the International Campaign other states and they send their own personnel
to Ban Landmines, in ways that also favor on diplomatic missions. These tendencies
particular national interests. imply that international relations are no longer
the exclusive preserve of foreign ministries.
As all other professions, diplomacy has a
history of gradual and non-linear developments.
Key Points In fact, the distinctions that make diplomacy
Diplomatic agency takes three generic forms: as a profession possible are relatively recent.
communication, negotiation and advocacy. On The differentiation between domestic and
the one hand, cheap transportation and com- foreign was only gradually institutionalized
munication technology have limited the com- (Neumann 2012: 53). The first diplomats
municative autonomy of the resident diplomat; were personally appointed envoys, acting for
on the other hand, information overload and new the king or republic, often belonging to the
actors have made the monitoring of diplomacy by aristocratic elite. Gradually, diplomacy gained
capitals more difficult.
its status as a meritocratic profession, starting
When negotiating or mediating be it bilater-
in France in the sixteenth century with an
ally or multilaterally diplomats become more
explicit agents. Numerous studies have demon- academy, secretariat, archives and manuals
strated the importance of personal leadership for (Weisbrode 2013: 14) (See also Chapters 2, 5
negotiation processes, not just in bilateral but and 12 in this Handbook.)
also in multilateral negotiations in the UN, WTO, One of the particularities of diplomacy
EU, NATO, etc. is that it has never accepted the distinction
Diplomatic Agency 99

between official and private life. Being sta- One of the major developments in diplo-
tioned abroad and having to attend and organ- matic agency is personalization. The formal
ize social gatherings, diplomats have relied on codes of conduct, including courtesy calls
their (female) spouses in their work. Yet, as and presentation of credentials, have not dis-
Cynthia Enloe (2014) notes, the role of diplo- appeared (Bjola and Kornprobst 2013: 70),
matic wives (and womens role in international but such ritualized performances are supple-
politics more generally) is still misrepre- mented with informal interactions diplomat-
sented by practitioners and scholars. Indeed, to-diplomat and diplomat-to-foreign-publics.
the agency of diplomatic partners (female or States (and their leaders) seek to present
male) is unofficial and under-appreciated. Yet, themselves as favorably as possible, both pro-
diplomatic partners can have remarkable influ- actively through public diplomacy and nation
ence also on state-to-state relations, exploiting branding, and more reactively by trying to
their transversal agency. They not only oil the manage media coverage. Media handling
machinery and shape the conditions for good often takes place simultaneously and inter-
conversations during dinner parties, they also feres directly with closed-door negotiations.
take strategic and agenda-setting roles during Foreign ministers and diplomats interact and
foreign postings (Dommet 2005). monitor each other electronically, as during
Today, state agents and more specifically the propaganda war between the West and
national foreign services have acquired a Russia over Ukraine in 2014. Texting, email-
dominant position in diplomatic affairs. This ing, Facebooking and Tweeting may seem
is largely due to what the French sociologist like more private ways of interacting, requir-
Pierre Bourdieu called symbolic power, ing users to present themselves as someone
which is the imposition of particular per- like their audiences. The EUs Foreign Policy
ceptions upon social agents who then take Representative Federica Mogherini might
the social order to be just (see Adler-Nissen choose to reveal personal details on Facebook,
2014b). Symbolic power requires the con- but personalization may also produce embar-
stant performance of social distinctions. For rassment. For instance, one US diplomat used
instance, when France inaugurated a new her professional Twitter profile to mention
diplomatic academy in 2001, French for- purchasing a bathing suit in the midst of a
eign minister Hubert Vedrine explained: we meltdown in the Middle East (Cull 2011: 5).
are creating a diplomatic institute to further There are both critics and defenders of the
demarcate the amateurism from the profes- transformations and increased visibility of
sionalism, which is ours (Vedrine, quoted diplomatic agency. One key critic includes
in Colson 2009: 74). Many countries have Paul Sharp, who insists on an ethos of rep-
adopted formal training programmes and resenting (not creating) national interests. As
diplomatic schools. Some countries, such Sharp puts it:
as Germany, Chile and Peru require all new
employees to go through one year at a dip- Diplomacy has an important role to play relative to
lomatic academy before they start working the policy process, but it is limited and should be
specifically defined. To expect it to contribute more
(Rana 2007). Notwithstanding the formaliza- is not only to offend the democratic ethic, but also
tion of diplomatic training, most diplomats obscures the true location of the policy-making
still acquire their skills and status mainly by responsibility, which is with the political leaders.
experience and patronage. Indeed, national (Sharp 2003: 565)
diplomats have generally been in a posi-
tion to rebuff challengers and they have Accordingly, diplomatic agency is to be lim-
largely been able to affirm their mastery over ited to the interpretation and translation of
the art of diplomacy (for a discussion, see different cultures to political leaders. Yet
Adler-Nissen 2014b). such self-restraint may be difficult when the

diplomatic profession is under pressure. For Today, however, the rise of non-state actors
instance, export-oriented companies increas- ranging from transnational companies to global
ingly require a wide variety of professional media, over non-governmental organizations
diplomatic services as markets and produc- to multilateral organizations, challenges the
tive operations expand globally and non- image of national diplomats as custodians
governmental organizations expect diplomats of the idea of international society (Bull
to advise and assist them when they operate 1977: 176). Symbolically, new articulations
across cultures. of collective representation, differing from the
Former diplomat and scholar Daryl traditional promotion of national interests,
Copeland (2009) has a completely opposite such as the Occupy movement and various
take on diplomatic agency to Sharp. If nation- attempts to create a transnational public sphere,
based diplomacy is to remain relevant in a challenge territorial-based diplomacy (see
globalized and interlinked world, Copeland also Chapters 41 and 42 in this Handbook).
argues, it must transform itself into Guerilla Changes in diplomatic representation also
Diplomacy. The guerrilla diplomat interacts happen through formal or functional delega-
with people outside the embassy walls. He or tion as states choose to delegate or open up
she is comfortable with risk and has an affinity diplomacy. For instance, the member states
for outreach. Standard operating procedures, of the European Union have delegated their
awaiting instructions and doing things by trade policy to the supranational level. As a
the book will rarely be sufficient in resolving consequence, the European Commissioner
the complex problems which characterize the is the sole representative of European trade
sorts of fast-paced, high-risk environments of interest in negotiations of trade agreements
modern world politics (Copeland 2009: 146). with the US, Japan, or Canada. Moreover,
When for instance, the Danish ambassador to international organizations such as the UN
Pakistan organizes a rock concert with other and OSCE invite new actors such as NGOs
ambassadors from the diplomatic corps in inside, partly to solve problems that the tra-
Islamabad, including the Bosnian ambassador ditional intergovernmental diplomacy cannot
on guitar, Japanese ambassador on drums and solve, partly to increase legitimacy as inter-
Australian ambassador on flute and vocals, he national organizations engage in far-reaching
signals more than musicality. By engaging in cooperation with real life implications for cit-
such informal and non-diplomatic activities izens across the globe (Tallberg etal. 2013).
outside the embassy walls (and later sharing it Interestingly, this process of opening up mul-
on Facebook), the Danish ambassador displays tilateral diplomacy has to a large extent been
mutual understanding within the diplomatic controlled by states (Tallberg etal. 2013: 256).
corps and informality as modern diplomatic Diplomacy largely still takes place within a
values. However, many diplomats and inter- field of rules and roles established over hun-
national policy managers lack the skills and dreds of years where states officially commu-
experience to combine formality and infor- nicate with each other. We should thus avoid
mality (Bjola and Holmes 2015). Diplomatic looking at diplomatic agency in isolation,
scholars also lack theoretical and methodo- and instead ask how it adapts, transforms, or
logical tools to grasp how social media affects undermines international interactions.
diplomatic agency (see also Chapters 35 and
43 in this Handbook).
Four decades ago, Raymond Aron wrote: the
ambassador and the soldier live and symbolize Key Points
international relations which, insofar as they Personalization is a strategy used by diplomats
are inter-state relations, concern diplomacy and to promote a range of values and national inter-
war (Aron quoted in Cooper etal. 2013: 67). ests off- and online. Yet, such activities involve
Diplomatic Agency 101

more risk-taking as well-tried diplomatic rituals NOTE

are discounted and the traditional boundary
between the private and public is transgressed. 1I wish to thank Costas Constantinou, Mads Dagnis
Diplomatic scholars lack theoretical and meth- Jensen and Anders Wivel for helpful comments.
odological tools to grasp how public diplomacy
and social media affects diplomatic agency.
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Diplomatic Culture
Fiona McConnell and Jason Dittmer

Something we may call a diplomatic culture arises permits diplomats to exert their own influence
out of the experience of conducting relations on the conduct of international relations?
between peoples who regard themselves as dis-
Insofar as such a culture exists, what does it
tinctive and separate from one another. (Sharp
2004: 361) look like, is it a good thing and, if it is, how is
it to be sustained? In starting to address these
questions this chapter looks first at the evolu-
tion of the concept of diplomatic culture, from
INTRODUCTION its roots in pre-Westphalian negotiations
between empires through to its framing as
If diplomacy is understood as the practice of universal and codification within diplomatic
conducting negotiations between representa- protocols and international law. The second
tives of distinct communities, then questions part of this chapter turns attention to the
of culture and cultural exchange are at its core. articulation of diplomatic culture by diplo-
This includes the promotion of particular mats themselves, looking at the emphasis
ideas and values (whether these be grounded placed on tact and civility, the professionaliza-
in so-called national cultures or framed as tion of diplomatic services, the unifying role
universal), the mediation of different values that a shared diplomatic culture plays, and
and political priorities and, in recent decades, tensions between diplomatic culture and
the formal engagement of foreign publics with national cultures. The final section considers
national ideals and institutions in the form of the multiplicity of diplomatic cultures that
cultural diplomacy (Finn 2003). But what of emerge and shape one another, from national
the culture of diplomacy itself? As Paul Sharp diplomatic traditions to unofficial or paradi-
(2004: 361) asks: To what extent does an plomacies that feed off diplomatic culture and,
independent diplomatic culture exist which in the process remake it.
Diplomatic Culture 105

THE EVOLUTION OF THE CONCEPT societies have had as one of their foundations
OF DIPLOMATIC CULTURE a common culture (Bull 2002: 304). Or, as
Sharp puts it, an underlying, cosmopoli-
Within diplomatic studies, the notion of diplo- tan set of values which human beings have
matic culture is a relatively recent conceptual been claimed to share whether or not they
addition, dating to the broader cultural turn in are aware of the existence of each other
the social sciences in the 1990s. Prior neglect (Sharp 2004: 364). Whilst the broadness of
of questions of culture has been attributed to this definition means that it includes cultures
a perceived thinness of cultural context of pre-Westphalian city-states and empires,
between polities, and a scepticism towards the inside this circle lies the international politi-
cal culture which is specific to the context of
idea of culture within the positivist approaches
the modern interstate system. At the centre of
of North American International Relations
these circles, and thus at the core of interna-
(IR). This prevailing view saw diplomatic
tional society, lies the diplomatic culture: the
culture [as] too vague, ambiguous or unverifi-
common stock of ideas and values possessed
able to warrant serious intellectual attention
by the official representatives of states (Bull
(Der Derian 1996: 87; Sharp 2004). Where
2002: 304).
the idea of diplomatic culture has been dis-
Diplomatic culture, here specifically writ-
cussed within the various schools of thought
ten in the singular, is thus the label given to
in IR it has had a contested uptake. In Geoffrey
an overarching structure that constrains the
Wisemans review of the term (Wiseman
behaviour of states and their diplomats. A
2005) the responses are grouped into four number of key elements to diplomatic culture
perspectives: Diplomatic culture exists and are apparent when we consider Bulls notion
its importance is underestimated (English of diplomatic culture alongside Wisemans
school of IR); Diplomatic culture exists but is more detailed definition, also from an English
not important (negotiation theorists); The School perspective: the accumulated com-
existence of diplomatic culture is either municative and representational norms, rules,
ignored or taken for granted (a constructivist and institutions devised to improve relations
critique of neo-Realism); and Diplomatic and avoid war between interacting and mutu-
culture exists but harms the national interest ally recognizing political entities (Wiseman
(neo-conservative policy think tanks). 2005: 40910). These elements include com-
In light of this, it is the English School per- mon values (including a shared religion and
spective on diplomatic culture and Hedley a preference for peace-making), a common
Bulls ideas in particular which has had the intellectual culture, institutionalized norms, a
most significant influence on debates to date. presumption of equivalent diplomatic actors,
For Bull (1975, 20021) diplomatic culture is and a heritage accumulated over long periods
a concept that underpins and, in many ways, of time and handed down to the present. We
constitutes the international society of states. will briefly discuss these elements in turn.
In a reading of Bulls understanding of dip- Der Derian (1987) traces the genealogy
lomatic culture through the lens of critical of European diplomacy from well before the
theory, James Der Derian argues that it plays modern state instead finding its roots in
a meta-theoretical role in his work on inter- Judeo-Christian theology. As humanity was
national society (Der Derian 1996: 85). Der meant to be united in Christ, so were its polit-
Derian usefully outlines the multiple uses of ical units (then cities). However, mankinds
culture in Bulls writings in terms of three fallen nature leads to estrangement between
concentric circles. The outer, all-embracing these Christian polities, and it is in this space
circle is constituted of world or cosmopoli- between would-be fellows that diplomacy
tan culture which all historical international emerges. As Christendom became Europe

with the fracturing of the sacred unity of international law, and the establishment of its
the Church and the Ottoman threat from the rules and conventions through protocol and
southeast, diplomacy became tied to the rise institutionalisation.
of the modern state. Der Derian argues that If the understanding of diplomacy as a
Machiavellis treatise marked the emergence formerly culturally-specific but now-universal
of a new political rationality that prioritized facet of the international society is true, then
the interests of the state over the needs of the practice of diplomacy itself takes on the
any larger community. Iver Neumann argues, role of translation. In a world of estranged
however, that this new rationality did not dis- polities by definition alienated from one
establish the Christian nature of diplomatic another diplomacy serves as the middle
culture: ground in which representatives can meet.
Diplomatic culture is thus the mechanism
As late as 1815, although Tsar Alexander of Russia through which estrangement is mediated:
did not succeed in making his holy alliance the it facilitates the movement of people and
framework for a new European diplomatic order, ideas across alien boundaries (Der Derian
he still managed to recruit his brothers in Christ,
the Habsburg emperor and the king of Prussia, 1996: 85). Indeed the notion of alienation
with a treaty text that bore the explicit religious understood as something made separate and
and kinship markers of the diplomacy of foreign lies at the core of English School
Christendom. (Neumann 2012: 304) engagements with diplomatic culture (Wight
1979; Watson 1984; Bull 2002). From this
Neumann identifies three facets of contem- perspective diplomacy not only manages the
porary diplomacy that have their roots in the consequences of separateness, but, in so doing,
Christian origins of diplomacy: immunity of it reproduces the conditions out of which those
envoys (but see Numelin 1950), permanent consequences arise (Sharp 2004: 370). As Der
representation, and the ordering of the diplo- Derian asserts, the existence of a diplomatic
matic corps. Implied, of course, is that there culture only becomes self-evident, and subject
are many more. to inquiry, when the values and ideas of one
Diplomatic culture is thus given as a society are estranged from another (Der
European inheritance, emerging in modern Derian 1996: 92). This estrangement exists
form with the state system itself and diffus- in a range of intersecting relations: between
ing through the world through processes of high and low cultures (read Western and non-
colonization and de-colonization (Watson Western), between different political actors,
1984). As Shaun Riordan notes, it is [s] and between society and self (ibid.).
triking the extent to which the structures and As such, the idea of a common intellectual
decision-making procedures of the British, culture underpinning diplomatic culture is
French and US service have been replicated, key to facilitating communication between
with greater or lesser efficiency, by develop- estranged members of the international
ing and even communist countries (Riordan society of states. According to Bull, this is
2003: 30). From an English School perspec- constituted of a common language (in broad
tive the universalizing of this diplomatic cul- brushstrokes Latin until the mid-nineteenth
ture is instrumental to the place of diplomacy century, French until the end of World
within international society (Bull 2002). Yet War I, and English since then), a common
this is hardly a new idea: it also a sentiment scientific understanding of the world, [and]
articulated by Franois de Callires (1717) certain common notions and techniques that
who noted the need for negotiation to be derive from the universal espousal by
continuous and universal. The subsequent governments of economic development
codifying of diplomatic culture was achieved and their universal involvement in modern
both through its co-evolution with cultures of technology (Bull 2002: 305).
Diplomatic Culture 107

Whilst, as we note below, the existence on articulated and re-worked by diplomats

the ground of such a universal diplomatic themselves. As Sasson Sofer (2007; 2013)
culture based on such a broad set of common argues, it is the diplomatic corps (and, pre-
cultural values is patchy at best, it is neverthe- ceding that, the looser notion of the diplo-
less promoted as an ideal to which to aspire. matic community) that is the primary
The extent to which this always produces the repository of diplomatic culture. It is perhaps
best international relations is, however, open notable that the first book on the diplomatic
to debate. Joyce Leaders (2007) account of corps was only relatively recently compiled
the Kigali diplomatic corps role in the Arusha (Sharp and Wiseman 2007). Through the
peace talks in 199293 is a case in point. Leader institutionalisation of the diplomatic corps
notes that, on the one hand, the diplomatic we can trace the development of an increas-
corps adherence to a shared diplomatic culture ingly codified diplomatic culture. Given that
based on common norms and values relating to it is practiced by a few carefully selected
the conduct of negotiations played a key role in representatives of international polities and
unifying what was a disparate group of Western has aristocratic origins, diplomatic culture is
donors, neighbouring and other African states, conventionally understood as an elitist mani-
a European Commission delegation, and UN festation of international culture. Aristocratic
aid agencies. Yet on the other hand: fraternity based on shared cosmopolitan
values was central to the unity of the diplo-
Diplomacy failed in Rwanda at least in part matic corps until the turn of the twentieth
because the Kigali diplomatic corps was a victim of
its own diplomatic culture. The Kigali diplomatic century. Yet even then the tradition of diplo-
community were so committed to the success mats being so wedded to dynastic European
of the Arusha process, as a way of both ending the culture did not go uncontested. In the eight-
war and bringing democracy to Rwanda that they eenth century, de Callires and others argued
failed to see or to comprehend the warning signs that the ideal ambassador needed more than
that the process was not leading to peace. (Leader
2007: 192) blue blood: negotiation should be a profes-
(See also Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 11 in this sion in and of itself as It demands all the
Handbook) penetration, all the dexterity, all the supple-
ness which a man can well possess. It
requires widespread understanding and
Key Points knowledge, and above all a correct and pierc-
ing discernment (de Callires 1963: 9).
Some question the existence of diplomatic cul- While the transition from an aristocratic to
ture, and others contest its implications. a professional diplomatic culture is still ongo-
Diplomatic culture, such as it is, is largely derived ing in many parts of the world, the process can
from European and Christian traditions.
be seen to originate in the regularisation and
If diplomatic culture provides a space of transla-
codification of what had hitherto been a body
tion between estranged polities, it carries within
it the potential for improving relations and occa- of knowledge that aristocrats learned through
sionally degrading them. being immersed in their milieu. This process,
which included such new rules as the intro-
duction of precedence within a diplomatic
corps on the basis of the date of accreditation,
DIPLOMATIC CULTURE AND can be traced to the Congress of Vienna (Sofer
PROFESSIONALIZATION 2007). Through the self-aware creation of a
body of professional knowledge, diplomatic
Thus far we have considered diplomatic culture came to be the object of its own gov-
culture somewhat in the abstract. We now ernment; the mannerisms of aristocracy had
turn to how diplomatic culture is learned, become the by-laws of interstate negotiation.

This separation of diplomacy as a pro- those apparently at war with the world are
fession distinct from, for instance, soldiers, quick to learn its prevailing forms of civility
lawyers or priests, fostered the idea of a (Sharp 2009: 206). While this is the ideal that
community of individuals who were unique diplomats should aspire to, it is not always
within broader society and who often seem necessarily the reality of diplomatic practice
to have more in common with each other than on the ground. Often norms are most appar-
with those they allegedly represent (Mayall ent in their violation, such as:
2007: 1). Indeed, they were often related to
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavezs ad hominem
one another. To this day, in the popular imagi-
remarks about US president George W. Bush
nation diplomats are often seen as belonging during the 2006 Annual General Debate [at the
to a cohort set apart from ordinary citizens. UN]. The reaction of UN diplomats to Chavezs
How has such an idea of separation endured? speech illustrates how deeply the norm of civility
Sharp argues that, to an extent greater than runs in diplomatic culture in general and in the UN
corps in particular. Many linked Venezuelas
other professionals, diplomats not only serve
subsequent failure to win a coveted two-year term
their professional universe, they constitute it on the Security Council to that speech. (Wiseman
(Sharp 2004: 376). And certainly the privi- 2007: 256)
leges and immunities that diplomats enjoy
not only constitute the conditions which Indeed, although the majority of diplomatic
make diplomatic work possible, but also relations, even the most difficult and politically
serve to bolster the perceived separateness charged ones, are still conducted with great
of this profession. Beyond this, the norms, civility it is widely believed that the stand-
roles and traditions of diplomacy created ard of civility achieved in modern diplomacy
powerful poles of identity to which practi- has now greatly declined (Sharp 2009: 205).
tioners could feel bound. Diplomatic services Sharp attributes this to international rela-
consisted of officials representing their tions today being more culturally divided,
governments in foreign capitals (who) pos- ideologically driven and popularly based
sessed similar standards of education, simi- (ibid.). Indeed English School proponents of
lar experience, and similar aim. They desired diplomatic culture (Wight 1979; Bull 2002)
the same sort of world. As de Callires had expressed concern about its declining stand-
already noticed in 1716, they tended to ards, which they saw as a result of a dilution
develop a corporate identity independent of of a shared international culture. It is worth
their national identity (Nicolson 1954: 75). noting that, in general, a decline of formality
Further, as Neumann (2012) notes, the need and manners is noted throughout the modern
to easily know who your opposite number era in many spheres of social life, and so this
is in another embassy or foreign ministry lament may simply speak to a larger phenom-
meant that there were powerful incentives for enon. Still, the decline of diplomatic culture
foreign ministries and diplomatic services to might be remedied by enhanced engagement
create parallel hierarchical structures. in practices of professionalization.
Of course, perhaps the strongest norms in Given these shared norms, obligations
diplomatic culture are civility and tact. In fact, and traditions it would stand to reason that
in Satows celebrated definition diplomacy the training of individual diplomats would be
is the application of intelligence and tact to not only key to their admission to the pro-
the conduct of relations between the govern- fession, but would be as standardized across
ments of independent states (Satow 1957: national diplomatic services as other aspects
1). Indeed, these norms have carried over into of diplomatic culture are. Nevertheless, this
the quasi-diplomacy of non-state actors: As is far from true (e.g., Cohen 1997) there
the experience of the Taliban diplomats in the is a remarkable lack of consistency across
Islamabad diplomatic corps suggests, even states in terms of the provision and nature of
Diplomatic Culture 109

diplomatic training (e.g., extensive training ALTERNATIVE AND NEW DIPLOMATIC

in Spain, minimal in the UK and US where CULTURES
most training has, to date, been done on the
job). In this way, the continued class-based The idea of a monolithic diplomatic culture is
elements of diplomatic culture can be seen, a denial of the difference that diplomacy seeks
as particular elite schools in both the US and to overcome. As Sofer notes, The duality of
UK might be understood as providing train- closeness and estrangement is inherent in
ing in diplomatic culture without being voca- diplomacy, as it is always surrounded by
tional training. However, as countries like the suspicion and divided loyalties (Sofer 2007:
UK increasingly aim to recruit a representa- 35). This is true both in a general sense and in
tive work force to the Foreign Office, such particular encounters. Regarding the former,
informal systems of training are increasingly Costas Constantinou (2006) argues for homo-
seen as inadequate, and change is coming. diplomacy, an understanding of diplomacy
Whilst diplomats are perceived as specialists that draws on two aspects of diplomatic
in the technical aspects of their art particularly practice that remain understudied: (1) non-
in precise and accurate communication professional, non-state diplomacy and (2) the
(Bull 2002: 173) they have traditionally been transformative potential of diplomacy.
generalists when it comes to knowledge and
experience. But diplomatic practice is changing: Within this context, homo-diplomacy would be
diplomats are now expected to engage with far about the mediation of same-ness, internal media-
tion, as a condition for as well as a neglected
more than just foreign policy. Their remit may aspect of the mediation of the estranged. In
now include issues of trade and investment, homo-diplomacy not only the Other but the Self
humanitarian aid, environmental regulation becomes strange, a site to be known or known
and public health. As such, contemporary anew. Self becomes strange so as to creatively deal
international relations increasingly require with alterity, overcoming the diplomatic fixation of
clear and unambiguous identity, which renders
specialists (Riordan 2003): an elite society mediation a one-dimensional external process.
of cultured, educated diplomats have been (Constantinou 2006: 352)
replaced by technically competent experts
whose knowledge and experience are limited to In this sense, we can see diplomatic cultures,
very few issue areas, and who do not have in the plural, as proliferating and relational.
the cultural background evident in the old Human encounters (whether between polities
diplomacy (Lipschutz 1996: 107) (See also or not) are necessarily diplomatic as they
Chapters 6, 7, 12, 14 and 21 in this Handbook) both seek to bridge the Self/Other divide and
enable communication, cooperation, or
something more like the creation of a new
us. Further, each encounter not only
Key Points
changes those communicated with, but also
Shift from aristocratic to professional diplomacy is changes the Self. Diplomatic cultures there-
an ongoing process, with many cultural holdovers. fore can be understood as alive, dynamic and
Professionalization entailed the production of a hardly the stable structural ground on which
body of knowledge that could be perpetuated international society is built.
and modified by diplomats themselves
Intriguingly, Constantinou (2006) argues
Diplomatic culture has much continuity with the
that a missing dimension in contemporary
past, such as tact and civility. However, new pro-
fessional demands require new skills. diplomacy is the role of spirituality with
There is a trend towards greater formalisation of its emphasis on knowing the Other so that
diplomatic training and a shift from diplomats one might know thyself as an antidote
being generalists to increasingly requiring spe- to the raison dEtat that Machiavelli
cialist knowledge. introduced to European diplomacy. Parallel

to Constantinous argument, although not Indeed, in an interview with one of the authors,
framed as homo-diplomacy, is Megorans a Canadian protocol officer noted that:
(2010) study of the Reconciliation Walk, in
which evangelical Christians walked the path We have other countries too who, theres no dif-
ference in what their expectations are per se, but
of the first Crusade to apologize for it. The just the way they go about it is more informal.
unexpected outcome of the evangelicals Theres still a definite expectation that their head
own transformation through the process of state is received in a certain way, but the prepa-
reversing their previous understandings of the ration and the lead-up to it has a different kind of
IsraeliPalestinian conflict is an indicator of tone and is more informal. Our Latin colleagues,
for example, are like that, just more relaxed.
the transformative potential within diplomatic (unpublished interview, 2010)
practices, even when conducted by non-
traditional diplomatic actors. Therefore diplomatic encounters require cul-
Of course, any analysis of encounters tural translators those individuals who not
between differing diplomatic cultures (in only speak the universal diplomatic lan-
the traditional, macro-sense) illustrates how guage but also understand the local dialect.
such an encounter is an event that changes Indeed, it is notable that state visits are nego-
both. When the Iroquois engaged in diplo- tiated between the protocol officers of the
macy with European states, it was not done receiving country and the staff at the local
on strictly European terms but instead was a embassy of the sending country; the stage for
hybrid set of practices that were improvised diplomacy must be set by a pre-diplomacy
over time and conventionalized: conducted between these interlocutors, who
Although the roots of forest diplomacy can be presumably have a minimal cultural divide:
traced to the Iroquois Condolence Council, a ritual
for mourning dead chiefs and installing their suc- When the country were receiving comes to pre-
cessors, by the mid-eighteenth century it incorpo- pare their state visit or their official visit they all
rated many elements borrowed from European have demands [] and then we have to negotiate
practice. Gun salutes, toasts, the distribution of [] Its just an example but if our standard is a six
European trade goods as presents at the conclusion foot wide red carpet but they want ten feet, these
of councils, and especially the keeping of written are the little variants they might have in terms of
records of the proceedings and treaties were demands. (unpublished interview, 2010)
European innovations. [] In order to be successful
in their dealings with the Iroquois, English govern- As a result of this recognition of difference,
ment officials found it necessary to operate within recent studies have eschewed studies of
the established system of Iroquois council protocol,
abstract diplomatic cultures whether uni-
just as the Indians had to accept and adopt certain
colonial practices. (Hagedorn 1988: 601) versal or national and have turned to diplo-
mats as embodied practitioners. The rise of
It could be argued that this is a historical studies using ethnography (Neumann 2005;
example drawing from a time in which the 2007) or drawing on the work of Bourdieu
state system was not yet universal. But this is (Adler-Nissen 2012; Kuus 2014) to examine
to miss Constantinous primary point, which the lived performance of diplomacy marks
is that all human encounters are efforts to this practice turn within diplomatic studies.
overcome estrangement. The practice turn thus enables the recog-
Even within the established, formalized nition of each diplomatic encounter as both
diplomatic protocol (the heart of official dip- a repetition of well-established protocols or
lomatic culture) there are geographic varia- scripts, and also a unique performance dif-
tions and emphases. In Iver Neumanns words, ferent from all previous encounters (Deleuze
clashes on the level of practices are fairly 1994). Draining diplomacy of its categori-
everyday in diplomacy, and they are to a cer- cal status and shifting attention from a mono-
tain degree inevitable (Neumann 2012: 316). lithic diplomatic culture to a multiplicity of
Diplomatic Culture 111

diplomacies has enabled a greater recognition in which that encounter is occurring, then we
of the various diplomacies that might formerly can imagine diplomatic culture as the aggre-
have fallen outside our attention. The above gate of these encounters, clustered around
example of the travelling American evangeli- one another in a possibility space with a few
cals apologizing for the Crusades is a good outliers. Further, if diplomatic encounters
start, and indeed religion provides a range of are transformative, with both the sender and
examples of non-state polities engaging in received changed by the experience, and if
diplomacy (e.g., McConnell etal., 2012). each group is having encounters with mul-
Another area in which diplomacy thrives tiple groups, then diplomatic culture must
beyond the sovereign state system is in the be imagined as not only multiplicitous but
realm of indigenous peoples, who have a also dynamic. A constant flux and flow rip-
topological relationship with the states in ples through the networks of diplomacy, with
whose territories they exist: both within norms and expectations changing over time
and yet beyond the state (Jennings 1985). in a radically de-centred fashion:
As Marshall Beier notes, indigenous diplo-
So, the president of Japan is coming Prime
matic relations and cultures long pre-dated Minister, sorry coming with foreign media. We
the arrival of Europeans in the Americas and used to provide ground transportation for all of
elsewhere, and in recent years there has been them, so we would rent buses and vans and we
a growing prominence of Indigenous peo- would look after them. We consult and we talk
ples in international fora, not merely as an amongst each other and we realized that geesh,
the past ten visits our Prime Minister has done
issue, but as important and effectual global abroad and not one country has provided a van to
political actors in their own right (Beier our media, so why are we doing it? So we adjust
2007: 9). Yet, scholarship within interna- our standards and thats pretty much international
tional relations has been almost completely practice. (unpublished interview, 2010)
silent on indigenous peoples, their diploma-
cies and the distinctly non-Western cosmolo- Given the number of diplomacies in play with
gies that underwrite and enable them (Beier new diplomacies emerging all the time there
2010: 11). Attending to the diversity of indig- is no chance for the dynamism of this multi-
enous diplomatic cultures can offer a reveal- plicity to settle out. Rather, we are left with a
ing lens on the boundaries of hegemonic de-centred, amorphous, dynamic set of diplo-
understandings of diplomacy as well as what matic cultures: each sharing some commonali-
constitutes bona fide diplomatic practice ties with the others yet remaining distinct, both
(Beier 2007: 10; de Costa 2007). Beyond from the others and from past selves (see also
religion and indigeneity, diplomacy can be Chapters 42, 43, 50 and 52 in this Handbook).
seen to proliferate in many directions, includ-
ing the paradiplomacy of cities (Acuto 2013) Key Points
and regions (Aldecoa and Keating 1999;
Cornago 2013). Each varietal both mimics Any diplomatic encounter necessarily involves
official diplomacy in some ways even as it different national dialects of diplomatic culture.
inflects it with regional or cultural specific- Homo-diplomacy highlights both the transforma-
ity. Diplomatic culture serves as a hegemonic tional possibilities of these encounters and the
need to account for diplomacies beyond the state.
norm that paradiplomatic and indigenous
Research following from the practice turn in
actors can nevertheless draw legitimacy from diplomatic studies enables us to consider each
even as they subvert it for their own purposes. encounter as it is performed rather than through
If each of these groups diplomatic abstract categories like diplomatic culture.
encounters draws on some general sense of There is increasing recognition of multiple diplo-
what diplomatic culture is or ought to be, matic cultures articulated by state and non-state
and yet is also inflected by particular context actors.

CONCLUSION Beier, J. M. (ed.) (2010) Indigenous Diplomacies.

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Diplomatic culture refers to an ensemble of Bull, H. (1975) World Society: some definitions
and questions, Paper presented on 30 June
practices, comportments and historical prec-
1975 to the Seminar on World Society, at
edents which may or may not be found in any Department of International Relations,
specific new encounter. Attempts to nail Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian
down what is, or what is not, diplomatic cul- National University.
ture are therefore bound to fail. Fruitful ways Bull, H. (2002) The Anarchical Society: A Study
to study diplomatic culture in the future of Order in World Politics, 3rd edition.
would seem to be rooted in the recognition of Basingstoke: Palgrave.
its inherent fractured, multiplicitous nature. Cohen, R. (1997) Negotiating across Cultures:
Two conceptualizations stand out: Bourdieus International Communication in an
notion of habitus and Bhabhas idea of mim- Interdependent World, revised edition.
icry. The former emphasizes the embodied Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace Press.
Constantinou, C. (2006) On homo-diplomacy,
nature of diplomacy, considering the tastes,
Space and Culture 9 (4): 35164.
dispositions and habits of its practitioners in
Cornago, N. (2013) Plural Diplomacies:
particular contexts (Kuus 2014). The latter Normative predicaments and functional
concept, from literary theory, refers to the imperatives. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff
subversive adoption of a culture, an adoption Publishers.
that is always incomplete (McConnell et al. de Callires, F. (1717) De la manire de ngocier
2012). Therefore mimicry leads to continued avex les souverains, de lutilit des
fragmentation of diplomatic culture, even as it negotiations, du choix des ambassadeurs et
relies on the coherence of the category for its des envoys, et des qualitez ncessaires pou
power. It is a paradoxical relation that speaks russir dans ces employs. Paris: Brunet.
to the tensions in the entire concept of diplo- de Callires, F. (1963) On the Manner of
matic culture we have highlighted above. Negotiating with Princes. South Bend:
University of Notre Dame Press.
de Costa, R. (2007) Cosmology, mobility and
exchange: Indigenous diplomacies before
NOTE the nation-state, Canadian Foreign Policy
Journal 13: 1328.
1 This was originally published in 1977. Deleuze, G. (1994) Difference and Repetition.
London: Continuum.
Der Derian, J. (1987) On Diplomacy: A
Genealogy of Western Estrangement.
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Diplomacy and the Arts
Iver B. Neumann1

While the last two decades have seen a coming communication is supposed to change peo-
of age of the study of aesthetics in international ples minds. For the individual diplomat, it is,
relations (Bleiker 2009, Danchev and Lisle as sociologists have put it for half a century,
2009), the diplomatic arena remains understud- about impression management. Impression
ied. What little there is we find scattered across management is about face work direct
disciplines such as history, art history, musicol- communication and face work always
ogy, geography and, indeed, international rela- happens in contexts. Those contexts have a
tions and political science. This chapter looks visual quality. The sites and the artefacts that
at the prominent aspect of aesthetics that has to go into creating the sites have a user value.
do with art, broadly understood as the high- A negotiation table may be rectangular to
status genres of culturally significant expres- facilitate leadership from one of its short
sion (literature, painting and so on), as well as ends, or it may be round, so that all partici-
cultural artefacts that also attempt to concen- pants seated around it are placed on a par in
trate life experience but have a broader appeal a physical sense. However, the sites and arte-
(popular culture). It only tangentially relates to facts used also have an aesthetic quality. A
the wider aesthetics agenda of scrutinizing the negotiation table may be plain, ornamented,
visual and sensual appreciation of the (diplo- beautiful and so on. One way in which
matic) world in general. I concentrate on two diplomacy and the arts interact concerns the
general interfaces between art and diplomacy constitution of diplomatic sites. This is the
and catalogue extant work that is particularly topic of the first part of the chapter.
ripe for follow-up. En route, I also take note of Art is also about communication. It rep-
this fields many lacunae. resents phenomena. One such phenomenon
Diplomacy is about communicating with is diplomacy. We find paintings, includ-
the other. It is also instrumental, in that ing portrait paintings, of diplomats, we find

diplomats on the pages of novels and we find the point of view of an ambassador, the major
diplomats being represented on stage. Here we point with a painting that adorns a residence
find another interface between diplomacy or an embassy is to make for a conversation
and the arts. Note that the arts as a term piece. Her objection was not to the factual
privileges a certain set of cultural artefacts she did not contest my observation as such
with high social status. Works of art are an but to the fact that the world was not more of
obvious match when diplomats meet, for an art for arts sake kind of place. I would
diplomats also have a high social standing. argue that she underestimated the politi-
It is no coincidence that persons and arte- cal potential of her guild, for by definition,
facts of high social standing crop up in the the surplus of meaning that makes a piece
same place, for they partly owe their high of art great has the ability to escape being
social standing to their association with one instrumentalised for political purposes
another. Art is not the only place where we (Butler and Bleiker 2014: 1). Some cultural
find representations of diplomats, however. artefacts make for a certain illness-at-ease
If art is high culture, there must necessarily which has an invariance-breaking potential.
also exist a low culture or, to use the gen- It is certainly the case that diplomats make
eral expression, popular culture. If art is asso- use of artistic work, but it is also the case
ciated with high status and so is politically that the best of such work also makes use of
constitutive of privileged position, popular diplomacy, in the sense that they challenge
culture is associated with low status and so what is taken for granted. Diplomats try in
is associated with authority and legitimacy. various degrees to aestheticise politics, but
How diplomacy is represented in genres that the politics of the aesthetic will always be
are historically considered to be low, such about more than such instrumentalisation of
as novels with a mass readership, films, TV cultural artefacts.
series, cartoons (Hansen 2011) and comics In conclusion, I speculate about yet another
(Dodds 2007), is important for the legitimacy intersection between art and diplomacy,
of both diplomacy and diplomats, for popular namely how the two may meet in scholarly
culture normalizes phenomena. I discuss this analysis of diplomacy.
in the second part of the chapter.
Note should also be taken of an underly-
ing factor of the relationship between diplo-
macy and art, which is particularly present USES OF ART IN DIPLOMATIC
when artists and diplomats meet. Artists COMMUNICATION
depend on Ministries of Foreign Affairs
(MFAs) and other customers for their liveli- The perhaps most conspicuous use of art in
hood. At the same time, artists take an inter- diplomacy concerns so-called signature
est in how their works are consumed. I once buildings. MFAs are frequently shorthanded
addressed the annual meeting held by the by their addresses Itimaraty for the
Norwegian MFA on the matter of art and Japanese MFA, Ballhausplatz for the
diplomacy. Norway is a consensus-seeking Austro-Hungarian MFA, Quai dOrsai for
country, so all the major arts have their pro- the French one and the addresses are short-
fessional national organizations and they all hand for the building itself. The buildings
have institutionalized cooperation with the tend to be monumental. By the same token,
MFA. Their representatives were present at permanent embassies are often works of art,
the occasion. While most of what I said went drawn by architects with a view to capturing
down well, the representative of the organi- the face of the country being represented (the
zation for national painters objected vehe- Nordic embassy complex in Berlin comes to
mently when I pointed out that, as seen from mind), or hybridization between the country

represented and the host nation (the American There is probably no form of plastic art,
embassy in New Dehli would be an example from the traditional European oil painting to
of this) or avantguardism in world architec- installations, that has not been pressed into
ture (French embassies tend to be particu- this kind of diplomatic service. Ministries of
larly elegant). Since the nation represented Foreign Affairs will usually have one or more
often adds to the bragging by publishing people, often art historians, who are in charge
richly illustrated brochures or even entire of buying art to adorn the MFA itself as well
books about their embassy buildings, there is as its embassies. Once again, the empirical
a rich empirical literature. There is, however, literature covering specific ministries and
little of any scholarly value. The key work is specific embassies is brimming with illus-
a broad overview of American diplomatic trations and presentations of these works,
architecture (Loeffler 1998). The American but little or nothing has been done on how
fortress model, which is a radical break specific countries choose to represent them-
with aesthetics and a turn towards a hedge- selves by way of specific kinds of artefacts
hog model of security, aims to churn out with specific kinds of motives over time.
embassies in three ready-made module sizes There are entire literatures available to tap
to be collated on site. During the Cold War, a for such a task, with the one on how nations
self-assured United States aimed to be a have represented themselves at world exhibi-
dominating presence in the middle of the tions and international art exhibitions such as
worlds capitals. Now they hide in heavily the Venice Biennale lying perhaps closest to
guarded compounds in suburbs. Loeffler hand (Martini and Martini 2011; for an intro-
(2012) has also written about how diplomats duction, see Lfgren 1993). Danish research-
have tried to stand up to this development, so ers Lene Hansen and Rebecca Adler-Nissen
far with little success. Meanwhile, the rest of are at work on how countries choose to rep-
the world continues to build embassies resent themselves during the art exhibitions
according to various aesthetic standards. that are regular official fringe events during
The aim to dazzle ones own subjects as European Union summits.2
well as visiting diplomats with monumental If self-presentation in terms of embassy
architecture, works of fine art and other heav- design and interior decoration has not been
ily wrought artefacts has a long pedigree that much studied, there is another kind of diplo-
stretches back at least to Pharaonic Egypt and matic self-presentation that is well covered
probably to Mesopotamia. The key exam- historically. This is the diplomatic gift, arte-
ple in the literature is, however, Byzantium. facts that are exchanged on the occasion of
Byzantine emperors dazzled their visitors meetings and visits (see French 2010). These
with sensual stimuli. For the eyes, there were artefacts tend to be luxury goods, which
great halls, beautiful colours and roaring Appadurai (1986: 38) defines as goods
mechanical lions behind the throne. For the whose principal use is rhetorical and social,
ears, the lions as well as beautiful music. The goods are simply incarnation signs, the neces-
touch got feather-light silks and the palate got sity to which they respond is fundamentally
the most exquisite dishes. The root metaphor political. Works of art are such goods and,
of Byzantine diplomacy was that, in line with historically, they are richly represented in dip-
the state religion, which held that the Emperor lomatic gift exchanges. One exemplary study
was Gods representative on earth, guests who that focuses on the materiality of the gifts
came to Byzantium actually arrived in the exchanged is a special issue of the niche jour-
earthly representation of heaven. The use of nal Studies in the Decorative Arts dedicated
art was consistently and emphatically geared to Early Modern European Diplomatic Gifts
towards bringing out the heavenly quality of (Cassidy-Geiger 20072008). Note should
the host country (Neumann 2006). also be made of the fact that music, which had

religious significance, was a frequently used Greek sculptures from the Parthenon. The
gift in mediaeval East Asian diplomacy (Pratt ill-begotten marbles remain in the British
1971). Within the understudied field of diplo- Museum to this day and remain also a thorny
macy and art, the study of music is particu- issue in BritishGreek diplomatic relations
larly understudied; but for groundbreaking (Rudenstine 1999). These marbles are the
research on the fairly obvious topic of what most visible case of such repatriation debates,
kind of music is played during diplomatic which are ubiquitous in post-colonial settings.
proceedings and beyond, see Agnew (2008) The most well-known post-war parallel to
as well as Ahrendt etal. (2014). post-colonial tugs of war over stolen art is
Art and its presentation abroad was, once probably the case of Nazi Germanys loot-
again, a staple in East Asian diplomacy, ing of paintings during its occupation of a
where artists were often part of embas- number of other countries during the Second
sies. It has remained an important part of World War (De Jaeger 1981). Seventy years
so-called cultural diplomacy. Orchestras, in later, the issue keeps cropping up on the dip-
the European case often but not exclusively lomatic agenda every time a new case of theft
symphony orchestras, seem to be a popular comes to light.
choice, particularly when relations between Finally, art may also be a standard object
two states have glazed over and are in need of running diplomatic relations between two
of thawing. In such cases, art is not used con- states, as when an art exhibition goes on
textually and contemporaneously, but as an tour and logistics have to be worked out. If
overture to hoped-for and subsequent diplo- relations between the two states in question
macy (see Gienow-Hecht 2009). are distant, this tends to be treated as a state-
One of the few works on art and diplomacy to-state affair, with diplomats on both sides
with a theoretical intent discusses Australias being active. If the context is close diplomatic
use of aboriginal art in its diplomatic campaigns relations, however, the sending and the
to establish itself as a United Nations member receiving museums or foundations will be the
in the 1940s and again in its campaign to secure main actors, with diplomats at the respective
a seat at the Security Council in the 2000s. In MFAs and embassies providing support from
the first case, Australia used art to underline the wings (see also Chapters 57, 35 and 43
its difference from the imperial homeland and in this Handbook).
its similarity to the US. In the second case, it
played to the indigenous lobby at the UN.
Butler and Bleiker (2014: 6) note laconically
that [t]he kind of cultural diplomacy at play Key Points
here was rather different to how it is sometimes Art is important as a context for diplomacy, in
seen: as an exchange of art and other cultural the form of architecture, decoration, music etc.,
artifacts and ideas in the spirit of genuinely to create the right ambience.
increasing cross-cultural understanding. Art, particularly paintings, but also music, is a
Art may also be found as an object of dip- frequent diplomatic gift, often aiming to give
lomatic communication. There is first the expression to a certain trait of the giver or of the
fraught issue of return of objects of art after relationship between giver and receiver.
Art and its presentation, particularly in the forms
a stint of colonialism, or after war. The para-
of touring ensembles, is a staple amongst ways
digmatic example of the former is possibly of thawing frozen relations.
the so-called Parthenon or Elgin Marbles. Art and its return after colonial exploits or war
While serving as British ambassador to the has been the object of heated diplomatic debates.
Ottoman Empire around 1800, the Earl of Art is also an object of standard running diplo-
Elgin negotiated a deal whereby Britain matic communication, when countries cooperate
took most Greeks would say stole ancient about art exhibitions etc.

REPRESENTING DIPLOMACY IN THE been the focal point of the only concerted
ARTS AND POPULAR CULTURE thrust of literary scholarship of diplomats.
This work was begun within the discipline of
Diplomacy does not produce art directly. The International Relations (Constantinou 1994,
closest thing would probably be the calligra- but see also Strong 1984) and subsequently
phy that has gone into certain treaty docu- taken up by literary historians (Watkins 2008,
ments produced by diplomatic negotiation. Charry and Shahani 2009, Netzloff 2011).
Then there are the commissioned buildings, Spurred, among other things, by the pub-
paintings, furniture and other artefacts com- lication of Timothy Hamptons Fictions of
missioned for use in and around permanent or Embassy (2009), a work that concentrates on
the intertext between diplomacy and literature
fleeting sites. Ministries and individual diplo-
during the Renaissance, Oxford University
mats commission portraits and biographies.
harbours a textual ambassadors network.
Representations of diplomats in the arts may
Yet another reason why the Renaissance
or may not be spawned by such a history.
has been the almost sole focus of scholarly
The genre of high culture where diplomats
concern regarding the painting of diplomats
seem to be most present is literature, with
may reside in the somewhat anachronistic
the European novel standing out as the most
fact that the paradigmatic painting of the
crowded genre (Shapiro 1989). Again, there
European diplomat remains Hans Holbein the
is little scholarly literature, but a recent doc-
Youngers The Ambassadors (1553), on dis-
toral thesis looks at the British post-Second
play in the National Gallery, London. A cer-
World War novel as an attempt at setting out tain collusion of art forms over the centuries
to former imperial and colonial subjects both is suggested by the fact that the oil painting
what happened, often with a view to rec- is dominated by a foregrounded anamorphic
onciliation, and thinks of this as a kind of skull, the art term for which is a vanitas. The
diplomacy (Krzakowski 2011 and 2015). picture features on the cover of the book that
Impressionistically, English, German, introduced theory to diplomatic studies (Der
French, Russian and Scandinavian litera- Derian 1987) and was indeed the main focus
tures seem to treat the diplomat as a vain, of the article that inaugurated the literature on
swinging dipsomaniac (for paradigmatic diplomacy and the arts (Constantinou 1994).
examples of this, see Albert Cohens Belle Two art genres stand out when it comes to
du Seigneur [1968] and William Boyds A representing diplomacy. These are science
Good Man in Africa [1981]). Further study fiction and fantasy. They are both ostensibly
is certain to disclose other representations non-mimetic, and they are both, probably to
and regional variation. Particularly stimulat- some degree for that very reason, tradition-
ing works that point us in this direction are ally categorized as popular. Science fiction
Constantinou (2000) and Badel etal. (2012). fastens on the question of what it is to be
Painting is yet another genre where repre- human. One of the major ways of explor-
sentations of diplomats, and to some degree ing the issue is by juxtaposing the human
diplomacy, is rife. Luke (2002) and Sylvester species with other animals on the one hand,
(2009) have done groundbreaking work on and with cybernetic beings on the other.
international relations on display in museums, Another is to have humans interact with
but the only literature that specifically concerns other self-aware (or, in the lingo, sentient)
diplomacy focusses on Early Modern Europe. but extraterrestrial species. Fantasy fastens
Perhaps due to a combination of rich literary on the question of fantastic beings, often in
pickings, limited numbers of personnel to interaction with humans. Where there are dif-
study and the advent of permanent diplomatic ferent polities that attempt communication,
representation, this particular chronotope has there is diplomacy. Diplomacy is, therefore,

a frequently discussed practice in science young adults prominent amongst them, spend
fiction and fantasy. A number of artefacts, long hours exerting agency within these simu-
such as the science fiction TV show Babylon lated worlds, one would hypothesize that there
Five (19931997) or the Hollywood mov- would be some kind of spill-over between how
ies The Constant Gardener (2015) and The they represent the world and how they decide
Whistleblower (2010), have the conduct of on it in-game and in-world. These and related
diplomacy as their main theme. problems are ripe for the scholarly picking.
While the study of the relationship between With the opening up of diplomacy to wider
international relations and popular culture in public scrutiny, representations of diplomats
general has yielded a by now crowded shelf, in the arts and in popular culture may become
however, the study of how diplomacy is rep- ever more important. Diplomats mediate
resented in popular culture is in its infancy. I between polities. For an increasing number
only know of two scholarly works. One is a of both state and non-state diplomats, that
study of diplomacy in the American television means that they mediate on behalf of profes-
franchise Star Trek (1966present), which sional politicians. Increasingly, politicians
fastens on how in-show Star Trek representa- are dependent on day-to-day support from a
tions of the dilemmas inhering in talking to large number of polity members in order to
the enemy while violence may be ongoing or remain in office and get things done. The key
imminent are more sophisticated that what we tool for politicians to maintain legitimacy is
find in much American foreign policy debate now the media. A consequence of this is that
(Neumann 2001). The other is a reading the media are they key provider of legitimacy.
of how a character in the Harry Potter uni- There is no reason whatsoever to read the
verse (novels 19972007, films 20012011), media as news media only; the media include
who hails from two different species one of mass media, but also traditional media such as
which is depicted as much older than the exhibitions. With an increasing political role
other, stands in for the indigenous peoples of for the media in producing legitimacy for pol-
this world. The half-giant Hagrids in-book iticians, the medias political poignancy is on
failure as a diplomat whose mission it is to the up, and their representations of phenom-
mediate between humans and giants corre- ena such as diplomacy are on the increase,
sponds to in-world problems of establishing for they contribute to diplomacys legitimacy
diplomatic relations between sovereign states in the eyes of the polity at large, and politi-
and indigenous polities (see Chapter 52 in this cians increasingly have to take the question
Handbook; also Epp 2001). of legitimacy seriously. This argument car-
One genre that holds out particularly low- ries different weight in different political set-
hanging fruit for International Relations tings throughout the globe, but regardless of
scholarship is video games. Despite the fact degree of censorship, there is hardly a place
that its turnover has been larger than that of left where it can be totally ignored (see also
the film industry for years, it has yet to receive Chapters 1, 3, 8 and 11 in this Handbook).
any attention whatsoever. Ian Bogosts (2007,
2011) work is key to the opening up of video
games for scholarly attention, and suggests a
number of foci for diplomatic studies: which Key Points
kinds of (artificial) cultural environments Representations of diplomats in the arts seem to
that offer variation that invite diplomatic be rather one-dimensional, but the issue awaits
selection rather than, say, war; under which scholarship.
circumstances diplomacy is represented as Popular culture, particularly the genres of science
yielding Pareto optimal outcomes, and so on. fiction and fantasy, frequently discuss diplomacy,
If millions of people, with adolescents and often in sophisticated ways.

When politicians need for legitimacy increases, discipline or sub-discipline is under an imper-
so does their dependency on favourable represen- ative to draw on as wide a sample of data as
tations of what they do, including their diplomacy. possible. As I have tried to demonstrate here,
many promising inroads have been made. The
field of diplomacy and art offers a number of
themes that are ripe for the picking, and may
CONCLUSION be in the process of becoming a separate sub-
field of the study of diplomacy.
Diplomacy uses art as a prop in staging con-
texts and easing communication. Art and
popular culture represent the phenomenon of
diplomacy. Both issues remain understudied. NOTES
In conclusion, I should like to touch on the
issue of a third way in which art and diplo- 1. The chapter is part of a project on Images and
macy intersect. This is art as a potential prop International Security based at Copenhagen
for the analysis of diplomacy. Every picture University and funded by the Danish Research
tells a story. Photography and other visual or Council for Independent Research, grant no.
DFF -132-00056B.
linguistic representations of diplomacy are, 2.Hansen, Lene and Rebecca Adler-Nissen `Self
among other things, data about diplomacy in presentations at fringe art exhibitions at EU
need of analysis of what they tell us about Summits, unpublished ms.
diplomacy (Kennedy 2003). They may be
particularly useful for what they tell us about
a deeply understudied aspect of diplomacy,
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Diplomatic Ethics
Corneliu Bjola

INTRODUCTION stance on issues, or as Edmund Burke once

observed, a statesman, never losing sight of
What does it mean to act ethically as a diplo- principles, is to be guided by circumstances;
mat? What is the latter supposed to do when and, judging contrary to the exigencies of the
caught in the horns of a moral dilemma? moment, he may ruin his country forever
What kind of normative prescriptions is she (Burke and Stanlis 1997). In other words,
required to follow in morally ambiguous sit- what normative challenges do diplomats face
uations? Under what conditions can she in their day-to-day work, how do they handle
break ranks and pursue a moral agenda? them, and to what extent are they capable to
Should a diplomat, for instance, serve as a shape or transcend the ethical limitations of
loyal deputy to the prince regardless of the their profession?
orders that he is being asked to execute, or as Unlike the more systematic study of the
De Vera once pointed out, he should be ready constitutive role of moral principles in inter-
to risk his job, the favor of the prince and national affairs (Rosenthal and Barry 2009),
perhaps his life (Berridge 2004: 93) when he the question of diplomatic ethics has been
judges the assigned mission to be unjust? rather sparsely discussed in the scholarly
Similarly, should a diplomat represent only literature. The few notable studies that have
the interests of her government or, as Adam approached the subject have sought to exam-
Watson argued, should she also consider the ine the space of compatibility between eth-
impact the representation of these interests ics and diplomacy (Toscano 2001), unpack
may have on international or regional stabil- the international legal constraints on diplo-
ity (Watson 1984)? Equally important, should macy (Bolewski 2007) or discuss the norma-
a diplomat refuse to let considerations of tive underpinnings of diplomatic conduct in
pragmatic expediency influence his moral contemporary international relations (Bjola

and Kornprobst 2013: 14798). Building on diplomatic ethics: to what extent are diplo-
these studies, this chapter seeks to develop an mats morally accountable for their actions
applied conceptual framework for understand- given the limited scope of agency they enjoy
ing the ethical imperatives and challenges of and on what principled basis should a moral
diplomatic practice. In so doing, it aspires inquiry of diplomatic conduct be pursued
to advance the debate on diplomatic ethics given the subdued manner in which diplo-
from more general assumptions regarding the mats exercise power? This chapter argues
ethical discourse in diplomacy as mentioned that the answer to the first question rests with
above, to more tangible conclusions about the principle of loyalty, while the second
how moral principles concretely inform, regu- question could be most fruitfully addressed
late or constrain the practice of diplomacy. from a contextually based perspective. More
Diplomacy and ethics have always shared specifically, the way in which loyalty is
a controversial relationship, primarily understood in specific circumstances of dip-
because of the competing moral constraints lomatic engagement informs the scope of dip-
and responsibilities that diplomats have to lomatic agency and the ethical boundaries of
juggle in their work. On the one hand, dip- diplomatic use of power. I develop this argu-
lomats capacity to exercise moral agency ment in two steps. The first section provides
is limited by the very nature of diplomatic an overview of the evolution of the concept of
agency. Diplomats do not represent them- diplomatic ethics from three distinct angles:
selves, but they always act on behalf of a Loyalty to the Prince; Loyalty to the State and
collective authority (primarily states, but Loyalty to People. The second part introduces
also regional organizations or international the phronetic method of ethical analysis and
institutions). Diplomatic agency is thus the explains its added-value for understanding
result of a conditional transfer of prerogatives how diplomats address ethical challenges as
from the legitimate authority to the diplomat professionals and how to normatively assess
(Neumann 2005). It is this delegation of their actions (see also Chapters 1, 2 and 7 in
authority that makes it possible for diplomats this Handbook).
to perform their traditional functions of rep-
resentation, information-gathering and nego-
tiation (United Nations 1961: Art 3). On the Key Points
other hand, diplomacy puts people in touch
with power, albeit in a paradoxical manner: Diplomatic ethics concerns itself with the dual
diplomats largely live and work in the prox- question of whether and under what conditions
diplomats can be held morally accountable for
imity of power, but they rarely exercise the
their actions.
power directly (Sharp 2009: 58). However, Diplomats are legitimate subjects of moral
as Diderot reminds us, power always comes inquiry since, despite having limited agency, they
with boundaries: it presupposes conditions exercise power via functions of representation,
which makes its exercise legitimate, useful information-gathering and negotiation.
to society, advantageous to the republic, fix-
ing and restraining it within limits (Diderot
etal. 1992: 7). In sum, whereas the restricted
scope of diplomatic agency partially protects THE EVOLUTION OF DIPLOMATIC
diplomats against ethical scrutiny, their exer- ETHICS
cise of power, even in an indirect manner,
subjects them by necessity to considerations Loyalty refers to the obligation implied in
of moral accountability. the personal sense of historical connection to
The inbuilt tension between agency and a defining set of familial, institutional and
power largely frames the terms of debate on national relationships (Fletcher 1995: 3).
Diplomatic Ethics 125

As a principle of social conduct, loyalty goes (Vattel 2004: 17980). This understanding
beyond friendship, gratitude or respect and of the diplomat as the loyal minister to the
includes the willing, practical, and thorough- prince took a variety of forms in the medieval
going devotion of a person to a cause period. For example, the nuncius often served
(J. Royce cited in Foust 2012: 41). It also as a living letter by communicating the
comes with a critical reluctance about hastily princes messages in a way that was as near
shifting ones associations when they fail to a personal exchange as possible (Hamilton
deliver on their initial expectations and with a and Langhorne 1995: 24). By contrast, the
willingness to bear the costs of persistence vicarii had the capacity to stand in the Popes
(Hirschman 1970: 78). At the same time, loy- place and perform official acts on his behalf
alty must be distinguished from blind obedi- (Constantinou 1996: 105).
ence and unworthy attachment to a misguided Having the prince as the primary object
cause (e.g., an extremist ideology), although of diplomatic loyalty had an important ethi-
this distinction is not always easy to draw in cal implication for how medieval diplomats
practice. As Ewin points out, the line between performed their functions. It extended an aura
loyalty and vice is often thin since both rely of moral protection to diplomats by removing
on different degrees of exclusion. Loyalty to considerations of personal honour from the
ones country may occasionally mutate, for way in which they accomplished their mis-
instance, into extreme forms of nationalism, sion in the service of the prince. Diplomats
in which exclusion takes the forms of intoler- were not supposed to feel ashamed if the ruler
ance and injustice (Ewin 1992: 417). By called upon them to lie or if they got involved
shedding light on how diplomatic agency and in dishonourable actions on his orders (Black
the exercise of power have historically shaped 2010: 44). Remarkably, the line between loy-
each other, the loyalty principle offers a alty and vice was defended by the aristocratic
unique conceptual tool for understanding the code of honour that prevailed among diplo-
evolution of diplomatic ethics. mats at the time and by professional consid-
I pursue this line of inquiry from three erations. Wicquefort, who was actually twice
different perspectives: diplomatic duty as imprisoned for espionage while working as a
Loyalty to the Prince; as Loyalty to the State; diplomat, agreed that the ambassador ought
and as Loyalty to People. For many classi- to seek his masters glory and advantage on all
cal theorists, the scope of diplomatic agency occasions and to that extent he could conceal
in the early modern period was informed and dissemble his losses. At the same time,
by the degree of loyalty of the diplomatic he insisted that a diplomat cannot forge nor
representative to the ruler of the country. In contrive false pieces without dishonouring his
his famous treaty on diplomatic practice, character (Wicquefort 2004: 132). Machiavelli
Wicquefort remarked, for instance, that an concurred with Wicquefort about the occa-
ambassador is nothing less than a public sional necessity to conceal facts with words,
minister dispatched by a sovereign prince to but he also insisted that diplomats should take
some foreign potentate or state, there to rep- great care to avoid earning a reputation of
resent his person, by virtue of a power, letter being mean and dissembling as that could
of credence, or some commission that noti- have negative consequences on their ability to
fies his character (Wicquefort 2004: 124, my perform their functions (Machiavelli 2004: 41).
emphasis). In the same vein, Vattel insisted The transformation of the international
that a public minister represents the person system from a dynastic- to a territorial-
in whom resides the rights which he is to sovereign principle of domestic legitimacy
look after, maintain and enforce, but he cau- after the Peace of Westphalia (Hall 1999)
tioned against the minister being regarded shifted the object of diplomatic loyalty from
as representing the dignity of his sovereign the prince to the state. Ideologically, this

move was made possible by the doctrine of considerations are deemed irrelevant for the
raison dtat, which was intellectually pre- conduct of foreign policy and if everything is
pared by Machiavellis reflections on states- permitted in the name of state survival, then
manship, but was given a coherent structure what would stop diplomats from using their
as a guiding principle of foreign policy by power to breach international law and to even
Cardinal Richelieu (Butterfield 1975: 11). foment war as illustrated by the case of the
The importance of the new doctrine on dip- Third Reichs Foreign Minister, Joachim von
lomatic relations cannot be overstated. The Ribbentrop (Salter and Charlesworth 2006)?
idea that the public interest ought to be the The excesses attributed to raison dtat
sole objective of the prince [] and pre- diplomacy were seen as determinant in the
ferred to all private gain (Hill 1961: 76) outbreak of World War I. This prompted a
shortly became the fundamental principle rethinking of the diplomatic method in gen-
of national conduct, the States first Law of eral, and of the relationship between diplo-
Motion (Meinecke 1984: 1). An important macy and ethics in particular, to the point
part of the explanation for its success lay that the very basis of diplomatic loyalty was
with the fact that it offered states a way to called into question. Should diplomats repre-
establish and maintain international order sent only the interests of their governments or
in disregard of ethical considerations. What should they also consider the impact the rep-
mattered was no longer the religious orienta- resentation of these interests may have on the
tion of the rulers, but the survival of the state international order? As Watson pointed out,
through the accumulation and rational use of states had not only an interest but also a moral
power. At the same time, as Kissinger notes, obligation to preserve international order and
the concept of raison dtat had no in-built to make it work, a principle he coined as raison
limitations as if everything would be permit- de systme (Watson 1984: 195). The new con-
ted in order to satisfy the interests of the state cept comes, though, with a thorny corollary
(Kissinger 1994: 66). which places diplomats in front of a serious
Raison dtat transformed diplomatic predicament: on the one hand, if they let the
loyalty from a personal type of relationship principle of raison de systme unrestrictedly
between the diplomat and the prince as in guide their actions then they risk circumscrib-
the early modern period, into an impersonal ing the autonomy of their sovereigns and, by
mode of affiliation to a collective entity, the implication, their own position. On the other
state. The implications of this move were hand, if they unrestrainedly pursue diplomatic
subtle but far-reaching. First, the scope actions in line with the raison dtat doctrine,
of diplomatic agency expanded. The dip- then they risk undermining the fabric of the
lomat was still serving the sovereign, but system itself by demotivating other diplomats
from the broader perspective of protecting from respecting the shared norms and rules
and enhancing the stature of the state and that sustain international order (Bjola and
not of the prince. While this theoretical dis- Kornprobst 2013: 150).
tinction would usually face no challenge in Raison de systme takes the question of
practice, it would occasionally force diplo- diplomatic loyalty to a new level of generali-
mats to take sides. Talleyrand defended, for zation. Unlike the principle of Loyalty to the
instance, his controversial shifts of politi- Prince that keeps the object of diplomatic
cal loyalties during his diplomatic career loyalty at the personal level, or Loyalty to
on the grounds that he sought to protect the State that favours the group, the concept
France against Napoleons misjudgements of Loyalty to People extends concerns of
(Talleyrand-Prigord 1891: 101). Second, diplomatic ethics to humankind. In principle,
the raison dtat made the line between loy- this means that diplomatic agency cannot
alty and vice more difficult to hold. If ethical be restricted to diplomats serving the prince
Diplomatic Ethics 127

or the state, but as the English School long DIPLOMATIC ETHICS IN PRACTICE
argued, diplomats are, in fact, custodians of
the international society (Bull 1997: 176; Far from having only a historical character, the
Sofer 2007). In practical terms, this concep- three traditions of diplomatic ethics discussed
tion of diplomatic agency translates into a above retain substantial relevance for
commitment to an evolving set of interna- contemporary diplomatic practice. Whilst
tional norms (sovereignty, non-use of force, diplomats now share the stage with a broad
mutual recognition, continuous dialogue, range of actors and institutions, diplomacy
reasonableness, equality of states) that are remains a dominantly state-centric profession
constitutive of international order. From an (Hocking etal. 2012: 5). Heads of diplomatic
ethical perspective, this move leads, how- missions are still officially appointed by
ever, to a rather puzzling situation. On the heads of state and their core mission
one hand, this cosmopolitan model of agency continues to revolve around serving their
strengthens the moral profile of diplomats as countries while upholding international
the set of universal standards of international
peace. The ethical principles subsumed by the
conduct they help create and reproduce is
three forms of loyalty (to the prince, to the
what makes international cooperation pos-
state and to people) are therefore constitutive
sible (Bjola and Kornprobst 2013: 13145).
of diplomatic agency and they carry analytical
On the other hand, it puts them on a colli-
weight for examining the normative value of
sion course with the other sources of diplo-
contemporary diplomatic interactions. It
matic loyalty. Guarding state interests while
should also be noted that, as a method of
defending international norms is a challeng-
sustainably managing relationships of
ing task that invites suspicion and even dis-
estrangement between political communities
regard. As Sofer (1997) insightfully remarks,
it renders diplomats into professional stran- (Sharp 2009: 10), diplomacy relies on the
gers (Sharp 2009: 100) who cannot comfort- recognition of a certain degree of institutional
ably walk the line between loyalty and vice in and normative heterogeneity, a condition
confidence their professionalism will never which sits rather uneasily in the company of
be called into question (see also Chapters 4, strong ethical prescriptions. Therefore,
5, 8 and 14 in this Handbook). attempts to advance a universalistic conceptual
framework capable of providing firm ethical
prescriptions to every single aspect of the
Key Points diplomatic lifeworld are rather misplaced and
contra-productive for diplomatic theory and
As loyal ministers of their sovereigns, diplomats
benefited from an aura of moral protection in
practice. Hillary Putnams advice that the
the early modern period; the aristocratic code of primary aim of the ethicist [is not to] produce
honour and professional considerations served as a system, but to contribute to the solution of
counter-balances to ethical transgressions. practical problems (Putnam 2004: 4) ought
Raison dtat shifted the object of diplomatic therefore to be heeded and acted upon.
loyalty from the prince to the state; this move That being said, what is a diplomat sup-
offered diplomats a moral anchor for challenging posed to do when she faces a loyalty con-
the authority of the ruler, but it also made their flict? Should she side with the head of state
position more prone to moral abuse.
or government even when the latter is morally
The principle of Loyalty to People extends
concerns of diplomatic ethics to humankind. As
wrong, should she pursue state interests as
custodians of the international society, diplomats she interprets them even at the expense of her
face suspicions of divided loyalties, but they also personal loyalty to elected officials, or should
help create and reproduce the norms that make she make sure her actions would not endan-
international cooperation possible. ger international peace even if that would

contradict the official policy of her govern- uncertainty, complexity, instability, unique-
ment? Echoing Putnam, I argue that conflicts ness and value conflict (Schn 1983:
of diplomatic loyalty are difficult to reconcile 17), which are difficult to address from an
from a theoretically abstract perspective. The abstract theoretical perspective. He instead
contextually rich environment of norms, rules argues that doing and thinking are comple-
and power relations, in which diplomacy is mentary. Doing extends thinking in the tests,
embedded, is less amenable to scrutiny from moves, and probes of experimental action,
Archimedean points of ethical validity. What and reflection feeds on doing and its results.
matters, I argue, is the diplomats capacity Each feeds the other, and each sets bounda-
to professionally judge what moral action is ries for the other (Schn 1983: 280).
appropriate to pursue in a particular context by Applied to the case of diplomatic ethics,
carefully balancing loyalty demands against the concept of reflection-in-action captures
each other. Aristotle called this particular skill the repetitive process of action and reflection
phronesis usually translated as prudence by which diplomats seek to align the prac-
or practical wisdom a form of knowledge tical requirements of the situation at hand
concerned with what is context-dependent with the normative imperatives prompted by
and particular, rather than what is abstract and their divided loyalties. As Schn points out,
universal. The phronimos, the one exercising it is the surprising result of action that trig-
practical wisdom, is an experienced practi- gers reflection, and it is the production of a
tioner with strong perceptual and intellectual satisfactory move that brings reflection tem-
capacity who can deliberate rightly about porarily to a close (Schn 1983: 280). For
getting other peoples accounts right, and example, during the Libyan uprising in 2011,
perceiving the details of situations correctly diplomats at Libyan embassies around the
(Hursthouse 2006: 300). world decided to resign from their posts or
While the principle of loyalty defines the to disavow links to Gaddafis government on
nature of ethical challenges that diplomats the grounds that their actions on behalf of the
may face in their work, phronesis offers them Libyan leader could no longer be reconciled
a method for addressing these challenges as with the ethical requirements of their posi-
professionals. For Ellett, phronesis coincides tions: We are not loyal to him, we are loyal
with the range and scope of professional to the Libyan people (Al Jazeera 2011).
judgments. Being a good professional means Their decision is illustrative of the conflict-
having not only the (cognitive) capacity to ing identities that diplomats carry with them
deliberate (judge) well but also the appro- between their professional selves and that of
priate (affective) attitudes and dispositions the state they represent (Faizullaev 2006).
(Ellett Jr. 2012: 17). Put differently, being When facing such ethical challenges, diplo-
a competent practitioner, in the technical mats may choose to respond pragmatically
sense of being able to perform ones func- through self-effacement (Neumann 2005),
tions effectively, is a necessary but not a suf- or they may decide to express their dissent
ficient condition for becoming a professional officially, as in the example above, or unof-
diplomat (i.e., a phronimos). To accomplish ficially, if such channels are available to them
this, a diplomat must demonstrate technical (Kiesling 2006). In each case, they activate
skill while taking on board the ethical con- reflection-in-action as a phronetic instrument
straints of his working environment. Drawing of ethical resolution.
on Deweys concept of reflective thinking Resolving ethical dilemmas using the pro-
(Dewey 1933), Schn develops the concept cess of reflection-in-action involves three
of reflection-in-action for understanding how steps. First, as a result of a particular situa-
professional phronesis works. For Schn, tion in which she finds herself, the diplomat
practitioners frequently face situations of experiences a contradiction between her
Diplomatic Ethics 129

different layers of loyalty. She may choose to reacting to ethical challenges (institutional
ignore this tension, but that may lead to a loss resistance, low levels of experience, extenu-
of integrity, stress and possible breakdown ating personal circumstances)? Finally, does
depending on the intensity of the contradic- the chosen solution help mitigate the loy-
tion (Johns 2013: 28). When the latter crosses alty conflict? It should also be noted that a
a personally defined threshold, the diplomat phronetic approach offers no definitive solu-
may decide to do something about resolving tion to a moral predicament, as reflection-
the moral tension or at least about not allow- in-action is a dynamic process. Each action
ing it to grow. She will thus initiate, in the and reflection slightly changes the context
second stage, a reflective conversation about of normative inquiry. As a result, differ-
the ethical trade-offs implied by her prioritiz- ent configurations of ethical trade-offs may
ing of one level of loyalty over the others. gradually become available as the process of
This reflective conversation does not neces- reflection-in-action repeats itself.
sarily involve an instrumental calculus of the As a way of illustrating these insights, let
pros and cons of the different moral trade- us consider the case described by a former
offs she draws for herself, but it often relies British diplomat, Brian Barder, who served
on an intuitive feeling about what is reason- in Poland during the Cold War in the late
able to do under the circumstances (Ellett Jr. 1980s. As a result of the Polish communist
2012: 16). The decision to follow from this government engaging in acts of persecution
reflective conversation shifts the diplomats of the Solidarity leaders (the independent
attention back to action. In the third stage, trade union federation), Barder found him-
the diplomat suspends reflection and pursues self, alongside other Western diplomats, fac-
a form of action in line with the chosen moral ing a moral conundrum. He questioned, for
trade-off. If the action taken fails to resolve instance, whether the duty of diplomats is to
the moral contradiction, then the process of promote strictly their countrys interests and
reflection-in-action resumes but from within policies or to also stand for more general val-
a slightly modified context. ues of freedom, civil rights and democracy.
Phronesis thus offers a different perspec- A reflective conversation followed between
tive for holding diplomats morally account- him and other Western diplomats about the
able for their actions than theoretically driven pros and cons of the different moral trade-offs
models of ethical analysis. Instead of relying entailed by each option. From a pragmatic
on exogenously defined criteria of moral perspective, the Polish government, however
validity, phronetic ethics focuses on contex- undemocratic, had a far greater capacity for
tually tailored standards of normative inquiry. damaging or supporting Western interests
The context in which diplomats handle ethi- than Solidarity. On the other hand, by protest-
cal challenges through reflection and action ing against the actions of the Polish govern-
is therefore a determining factor for under- ment, Western diplomats could have helped
standing the extent to which the actions taken secure some degree of protection against arbi-
by a diplomat are morally justifiable. Typical trary harassment and persecution for ordinary
questions to ask from a phronetic perspective Poles. Despite attracting a firm condemnation
would be: Does the situational context place from the Polish Government, the decision to
the diplomat in front of a legitimate ethical deliver a dmarche to the Polish foreign min-
predicament or can the latter be reasonably ister on behalf of all members of the European
ignored? Is the process of reflection-in-action Economic Community (EEC) was viewed as
pursued in response to the ethical challenge an acceptable compromise between the two
guided by reasons other than loyalty con- courses of action (Barder 2010: 2902).
tradictions? Does the diplomat face unusual The core ethical contradiction experienced
obstacles that prevent him from properly by Barder and the other Western diplomats

was essentially one between the principles of two sources of loyalty, the decision to deliver
Loyalty to the State vs Loyalty to People. In a dmarche changed the context and prompted
order to find out whether Western diplomats the Polish government to react by describing
reaction to this challenge was morally valid the action of Western diplomats as an unac-
from a phronetic perspective, we need to ceptable interference in the countrys inter-
examine the context of the case. Was the ethi- nal affairs (Barder 2010: 290). Fortunately,
cal contradiction legitimate in light of the cir- the statement of the Polish government was
cumstances? Without offering many details, followed by no immediate resumption of
Barder points to a particularly flagrant act the persecution of Solidarity leaders. Had
of persecution of the Polish government that occurred, then the ethical contradiction
against a prominent Solidarity leader (Barder between the two sources of diplomatic loy-
2010: 290), a fact that indicates the presence alty would have been rekindled, arguably in
of a serious moral issue that deserved diplo- a more severe form, thus requiring diplomats
matic attention. Barders account also sug- to engage in reflection-in-action on a different
gests that reflection-in-action was primarily basis and likely with a different outcome.
guided by concerns over how to reconcile The phronetic model of ethical analysis
the conflict between the two sources of loy- presented above calls attention to two impor-
alties as opposed, for instance, to attempt- tant research directions on diplomatic ethics.
ing to score Cold War propagandistic points. First, how do the ethical challenges experi-
Furthermore, there is no indication in the text enced by diplomats as a result of conditions
about diplomats not being able to tackle the of conflicting loyalties influence their perfor-
ethical predicament due to professional or mance? As every diplomat is likely to face
personal reasons. The moderately engaging such challenges in her career, it is important to
discussion among Western diplomats about understand the conditions under which moral
the pros and cons of the two moral choices is conundrums may undermine the effective-
actually indicative of an institutional culture ness of diplomats in fulfilling their functions.
within Western diplomatic services reason- Second, what kind of training do diplomats
ably open to normative deliberation. Finally, require in order to improve their capacity
the chosen solution (dmarche) helped for ethical reflection-in-action? Generalized
reduce the original tension between the two prescriptions of moral behaviour have argu-
sources of loyalty, albeit the extent of the ably limited value as professional guidelines
relief remained of course a matter of debate. for contextual action. Ethical training must
Overall, the reaction of Western diplomats therefore take into account the uncertainty,
to the Polish governments repression of complexity, instability, uniqueness and value
Solidarity enjoyed substantial moral valid- conflict that diplomats face in their day-to-
ity from a phronetic perspective. The loyalty day activity (see also Chapters11, 15 and 36
conflict was sufficiently intense to justify a in this Handbook).
response, reflection-in-action was primar-
ily guided by legitimate concerns, diplomats
faced no major institutional constraints, and Key Points
the final solution helped to satisfactorily
While the three principles of loyalty (to the prince,
mitigate the original ethical predicament. By
to the state and to people) define the nature of
contrast, had they decided, for instance, to ethical challenges that diplomats may face in
pursue no action or to let their reflection-in- their work, phronesis offers them a method for
action be guided by Cold War propagandistic addressing these challenges as professionals.
motivations then their actions would have The phronetic concept of reflection-in-action
lacked moral legitimacy. While bringing a captures the repetitive process of action and
temporary close to the tension between the reflection by which diplomats seek to align the
Diplomatic Ethics 131

practical requirements of the situation at hand Dewey, John (1933) How We Think, a
with the normative imperatives prompted by Restatement of the Relation of Reflective
their divided loyalties. Thinking to the Educative Process. Boston,
The intensity of the loyalty conflict, the nature of the MA: D.C. Heath and company.
concerns informing reflection-in-action, the type Diderot, Denis, John Hope Mason, and Robert
of institutional or personal constraints diplomats Wokler (1992) Political Writings, Cambridge
face when engaging in reflection-in-action, and texts in the history of political thought.
the extent to which the diplomatic response action Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
helps mitigate the original ethical predicament Ellett Jr., Frederick S. (2012) Practical rationality
are the key criteria of phronetic ethical analysis. and a recovery of Aristotles phronesis for
Future research directions on diplomatic ethics the professions, in Elizabeth Anne Kinsella
could explore the relationship between ethi- and Allan Pitman (eds) Phronesis as
cal challenges and diplomatic performance and Professional Knowledge: Practical Wisdom in
examine the type of training diplomats require the Professions. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers,
in order to improve their capacity for ethical pp. 1332.
reflection-in-action. Ewin, R. E. (1992) Loyalty and virtues,
Philosophical Quarterly, 42 (169): 40319.
Faizullaev, Alisher (2006) Diplomacy and self,
Diplomacy & Statecraft, 17 (3): 497522.
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Diplomatic Knowledge
No Cornago

This chapter examines the relationship diplomacy and knowledge emerged and
between diplomacy and knowledge. It evolved.
explores the practical dimensions of this par- Second, this chapter discusses diplomatic
ticular relationship, such as those exempli- knowledge as heterology, that is, as a way of
fied by the interest of diplomatic services all dealing with the alien, the foreigner; in other
over the world on new technologies of words, as a way of mutual engagement with
knowledge production and management or otherness. In so doing, it underscores that
their growing concern regarding the implica- diplomacy has been for centuries a venue
tions of social media. In addition, it aims to for trans-cultural communication, reflexive
emphasize the deeper socio-historical signifi- understanding and unending negotiation of
cance of diplomatic knowledge, as well as its identity and difference, not only for those
crucial importance for the instrumental and belonging to distant and mutually exotic cul-
communicative functions that diplomacy is tures but also amongst those living separately
expected to perform. albeit in close proximity.
The argument has been organized in four Third, it examines both the theoretical
parts. First, it adopts a reflective and criti- foundations and the practical dimensions of
cal approach to diplomatic knowledge and diplomatic knowledge as statecraft. More
in doing so the relationship between diplo- specifically, it will focus on the variety of new
macy and knowledge will be problema- techniques such as observation and report-
tized in the light of current discussions in ing, fact finding missions, strategic negotia-
the fields of epistemology and sociology of tion, or espionage developed most notably
knowledge. Specific attention will be paid in the modern era as well as the main fea-
to the historical conditions under which the tures of statecrafts historical evolution. The
mutually constitutive relationship between legal and administrative regimes designed for

its management such as those regulating religious ceremonies or discharge religious

secrecy and public disclosure of diplomatic duties. Derived from theos (god) and orao
knowledge and its current transforma- (to see), he contends that in addition to other
tion under new technological conditions and meanings it had the meaning to see god,
transnational societal pressures will be also invoking therefore a specific truth-making
briefly analysed. process. Those ancient ambassadors were
Finally, and in line with recent contribu- peripatetic theorists charged with the dis-
tions to the anthropology of knowledge and covery of what was right or true. That con-
the widely extended recognition of its negoti- nection was further developed in the Platonic
ated character, we will discuss the pros and conception of knowledge. As Constantinou
cons of what can be called the diplomatiza- summarizes it:
tion of knowledge in the wider social realm,
Theoria constitutes, therefore, the philosophical
as well as its implications for our under-
journey out of the cave of ignorance The
standing of diplomacy as it is practised, in information and knowledge acquired by such
the post-Wikileaks era, not only by official theoria was then to be communicated to the
diplomats, but also by a great variety of citizens of the model polis to confirm the rightness
public and private agents, such as scientists, of its laws or to amend the deficient ones.
(Constantinou 1996: 57, 59)
political activists, social workers or corporate
Despite its theological foundations, that
ancient understanding of theory as embassy
and embassy as theory may help us to
THE CO-PRODUCTION OF counteract the ahistoricism of prevailing
approaches to epistemology. It emphasizes
instead the historical conditions under which
knowledge flourishes and evolves, in the vein
Although somewhat underestimated by the
of the historical epistemology represented by
most influential and authoritative accounts of
Wartofsky (1979) or Rheinberger (2010). In
the social history of knowledge (e.g. Van
addition, its peripatetic character demands
Doren 1992; Burke 2000), a careful examina-
greater attention to the changing geogra-
tion of the history of diplomacy reveals the
phies of diplomatic knowledge (cf. Dumas
extraordinary importance that knowledge has
1999; Agnew 2007). Jonathan Wright aptly
had since the most remote antiquity, not only
summarizes how crucial the cultivation of
for diplomatic practice in diverse spatial and
knowledge was in the history of diplomacy:
temporal settings, but also for the wider con-
figuration of diverse domains of sciences and
Over the course of millennia, from the cuneiform
humanities. Not in vain, knowledge of the civilizations of the ancient near east to the empires
world has been always linked to the evolving of the modern era, it has been the ambassadors
ways in which political communities have who have allowed the world to meet itself. They
been organized, represented and related his- would embark on missions of faith and trade, of
politics and love, but wherever they journeyed they
torically through a variety of means, includ-
would as likely as not report back on everything
ing most notably diplomatic means (e.g. the moralities and the myths, the plants and the
Nechaeva 2007). animals, the fashions and the foods they
The importance of that relationship is even encountered There would be moments of
inscribed in the very etymology of the word misunderstanding and embarrassment, but there
would be just as many of clarity and insight.
theory. Constantinou (1996: 538) explains
Through the efforts of ambassadors, civilizations
that the word theoria was frequently used would compare and contrast one another, prejudices
in ancient Greek to designate an old type and affinities would emerge, and admiration and
of solemn or sacred embassy sent to attend loathing would result. (Wright 2006: 67)
Diplomatic knowledge 135

In view of these historical precedents, we shall for discovery were invariably combined with
move away from those approaches that tend more utilitarian and power-based approaches.
to consider knowledge either a simple Cautious but sincere dialogue with others
reflection of the truth about nature or, con- always coexisted with strategic negotiation,
versely, a mere creation of social and politi- mutual mistrust, surveillance and espionage.
cal interests. We shall rather follow what Diplomatic historians, for instance, have
Jasanoff terms the co-production approach, aptly described the variegated or multitasked
which she introduces as follows: knowledge-related skills that early-modern
diplomats were expected to perform:
In broad areas of both present and past human
activity, we gain explanatory power by thinking of
These agents and diplomats made no distinction
natural and social orders as being produced
between the many arenas in which they worked to
together. The texture of any historical period, and
exert their influence on behalf of those who
perhaps modernity most of all, as well as of
employed them. Even those largely employed in
particular cultural and political formations, can be
surveillance took the opportunity of their extended
properly appreciated only if we take this
periods abroad to gather knowledge that they
co-production into account society cannot
believed might be useful to those at home.
function without knowledge any more than
(Adams and Cox 2013: 5)
knowledge can exist without appropriate social
supports. (Jasanoff 2004: 2)
Later, in the classic era of realpolitik, interna-
Knowledge, in sum, she contends, embeds tional diplomatic conferences on the most
and is embedded in social practices and disparate issues, such as those represented,
identities, norms and conventions, instru- for instance, by the control of cholera, astron-
ments and institutions, representations and omy and observatory sciences, or the admin-
discourses. More specifically, she asserts, istering of prisons (cf. Huber 2006;
knowing the world is inseparably linked to Saint-Martin 2009; Shafir 2014), served as a
the ways in which people seek to organize technology that mediated intellectual
and control it (Jasanoff 2004: 3). According exchange and scientific communication and
to this view, diplomatic knowledge not only thus were crucial in the global shaping of
was historically crucial and remains so contemporary understanding of social and
nowadays for diplomacy and its perfor- natural sciences (Shafir 2014: 72). As experi-
mance but also for the most diverse domains enced scientists increasingly recognize, it
of knowledge. In other words, science and would be difficult to understand the pro-
technology permeate the history of diplo- gresses of a range of scientific disciplines
macy and correspondingly, the historical without considering the many ways in which
development of geography, medicine, biol- diplomatic practices and institutions rang-
ogy, anthropology, architecture, engineering, ing from ancient exploratory missions and
administration or information sciences was espionage to contemporary multilateral con-
closely related to the practices and institu- ferences of scientific or technical issues
tions of diplomacy as well. The co-production contributed to them (e.g. Zewail 2010; Kaplan
and management of knowledge through dip- 2011). Although the rise of modern scientific
lomatic means including its storage, reten- knowledge, with its corresponding process of
tion and dissemination has nonetheless autonomization and disciplinary specializa-
historically served for very different pur- tion, displaced temporarily diplomacy from
poses (Kurbalija 2002), including the careful the frontline of scientific discoveries, nowa-
administration of knowledge about the past days there is a new and widely shared demand
(Scham 2009). As this chapter will later for a new transnational partnership between
show, adventures of knowledge driven by scientists and diplomats in front of the politi-
genuine humanistic interest and fascination cal and technical challenges of a global

political agenda which requires their respec- of subjectivities. Following Michel De

tive expertise. Interestingly enough, that old Certeaus inspiring work on the resurgence of
interplay between science and diplomacy is indigenous movements in Latin America, that
thus receiving a renewed attention amongst inter-subjective dimension of diplomatic
those concerned with the advancement of knowledge may be considered as a form of
knowledge in a new global era in which both heterology, for its actual performance
the national scientific system and diplomatic endlessly demands of the self in front of a
services are being radically reorganized returning other which can neither be avoided
(Chalecki 2008; Flink and Schreiterer 2010; nor overcome the establishment and
Sutcu 2012; Benson and Kjelgren 2014; see cultivation without assimilating each other
also Chapter 1 in this Handbook). to the category of sameness of a mutual and
durable relationship (De Certeau 1987).
That understanding of diplomatic knowl-
Key Points edge as a venue for empathy and mutual self-
transformation has been widely confirmed by
From ancient exploratory missions and diplo- historical research. In antiquity metaphors of
matic reporting to contemporary multilateral
kinship and friendship were always accom-
conferences on scientific or technical issues, dip-
panied with the expression of mutual rec-
lomatic knowledge not only was historically cru-
cial and remains so nowadays for diplomacy ognition and respect for mutual difference
and its performance but also for the formative (Cohen 2001). The humanistic character of
processes of the most diverse domains of knowl- those ancient forms of diplomatic knowl-
edge, such as, for instance, geography, medicine, edge understood as mutual discovery was
biology, anthropology, architecture, engineering, slowly displaced under the imperatives of the
administration or information sciences. modern doctrine of reason of state, in a long
Although the rise of modern scientific knowledge, historical period ranging from the Peace of
with its corresponding process of autonomiza- Westphalia in 1648 to the Congress of Vienna
tion and disciplinary specialization, temporarily in 1815 that is, when a new understanding
displaced diplomats from the frontline of scientific
of diplomatic knowledge as a mainly strategic
discoveries, nowadays there is a new and widely
resource for power politics finally acquired
shared demand for a new transnational partnership
between scientists and diplomats to face the politi- the overwhelming predominance that we are
cal and technical challenges of a global political still witnessing nowadays. But, against the
agenda which requires their respective expertise. influential narratives that portray Renaissance
diplomacy as a moment of humanistic plural-
ism (e.g. Mattingly 1973) definitively dis-
placed by the rise of the nation-state (e.g.
DIPLOMATIC KNOWLEDGE Anderson 1993), the new stream in diplo-
AS HETEROLOGY matic history emphasizes continuity more
than rupture in the passing from pre-modern
As Constantinou has convincingly argued to early-modern diplomacy (Antiel-Quiroga
(1996: 11220), any reflective understanding 1989; Watkins 2008; Carri-Invernizzi 2014).
of diplomatic knowledge should consider the This therefore provides a much wider space
experiences of diplomats in their engagement for the survival of the humanistic tradition in
with the diplomatic other, either considered diplomacy (Black 2010).
as object, placed in a position of observable The study of diplomatic relationships
exteriority outside the closed boundaries of beyond the European contours offers a fertile
the self, or conversely as subject, whose field for research, such as, for instance, those
presence involves the very questioning of the existing between both France and Spain
self in a process of mutual re-configuration with Muslim countries in the late eighteenth
Diplomatic knowledge 137

century. Although incidents abound that the importance of what we have called diplo-
reveal how difficult the task of diplomacy macy as heterology:
was due to cultural difference, estrangement
in the face of otherness was more frequently A good diplomatist will always endeavour to put
himself in the position of the person with whom
transformed in a reflective and critical under- he is treating, and try to imagine what he would
standing of cultural difference under notions wish, do and say, under those circumstances.
of tolerance to different religious beliefs (Satow 1917: 1334)
(Windler 2001). Of course, these processes
of mutual discovery with their corresponding The idea of diplomatic knowledge as heterol-
part of mutual misunderstanding were not ogy, however, should not be idealized.
circumscribed to the closer Mediterranean Moreover, it does not necessarily entail a
proximities. Before their displacement in strong normative foundation. Some authors
the colonial era by the violent deployment have convincingly shown how the simple
of modern sovereignty, early diplomatic cultivation of prose, politeness and conversa-
encounters between Europeans and Africans tion were crucial for shaping the grammars of
also offered multiple opportunities for heter- diplomacy in early modern Europe (Fumaroli
ology (Lowe 2007). 1994; Sofer 2013). Interestingly enough, the
Bearing in mind these and other simi- distinctive value of diplomacy as a way of
lar precedents, Constantinou has recently dealing with otherness has also been recently
vindicated the historical importance of the confirmed by neurosciences. The importance
humanistic tradition of diplomacy as a model of some salient specific features such as the
for the contemporary cultivation of reflexive importance of face-to-face communication
knowledge (Constantinou 2013), calling for or its adaptability to ever-changing context-
new forms of diplomatic engagement, such specific situations explains the timeless
as those represented by the resurgence of significance of diplomatic encounters as a
indigenous diplomacies (Bleier 2009) and venue for empathy, mutual understanding of
for the better mediation of the many forms of each others intentions, the acquisition of
estrangement in global life: knowledge and enhancement of human
reflexivity (Holmes 2013). The virtualization
The mission is not only, not just, the knowledge of diplomacy and the proliferation of internet
and control of the other but fundamentally the social networks that the world is experiencing
knowledge of the self and this knowledge of
the self as a more reflective means of dealing nowadays makes particularly important the
with and transforming relations with others. cultivation of that form of communication.
(Constantinou 2006) A long time before the arrival of digital
diplomacy, however, another understanding
In contrast with the abstract treatment that of diplomatic knowledge, namely one that
this question used to receive in the field of considers the other more as an object to be
contemporary philosophy by influential observed than as subject to be engaged with,
authors such as Buber, Levinas or Ricoeur, has proven to be significantly more influen-
that understanding of diplomacy as heterol- tial. That second understanding of diplomacy
ogy comes easily from the attentive exami- has been crucial as our next section will try
nation of the phenomenology of diplomacy, to show in shaping both in theory and prac-
its observable practices, accumulated experi- tice the notion of diplomatic knowledge as
ences and related sociabilities. Ernst Satow, statecraft. From the perspective that this sec-
for instance, aptly formulated in his influen- tion aimed to underline, the most important
tial Guide to Diplomatic Practice, albeit in a effect of this process, as Constantinou has
rather self-celebratory tone, how diplomats convincingly argued, has been the conceal-
actually realize in their professional practice ment of the symbiotic relationship between

diplomatic knowledge and practice, a sym- although not completely the humanistic
biosis that can neither be reduced to the nar- dimension of diplomacy in favour of a new
row conceptual grammars of utilitarianism understanding of diplomatic knowledge as
nor to the practical or bureaucratic manage- statecraft, that is, as an instrument of state
ment of the one-sided definition of interests. power and governmentality (Neocleous
That symbiosis of mutual and reflexive learn- 2003; McMillan 2010). The origins of that
ing singularizes the unavoidable double loca- doctrine can be traced back to classical
tion of diplomats as both representatives and authors such as Tacitus, but it was most nota-
mediators, placing them in some unstable but bly developed in early-modern Italy by
distinctive middle ground, between these two Machiavelli in The Prince (1532), and Botero
poles (Constantinou 2013; see also Chapters in his Della ragioni di stato (1589), an influ-
2 and 3 in this Handbook). ential work to which the doctrine owes its
name (cf. Viroli 1993). Its huge impact was
propelled by the course of historical events in
Key Points sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe.
Yet early-modern diplomatic practices were
Diplomatic knowledge may be considered as a embedded in a wider geopolitical context
form of heterology, for its actual performance that simultaneously configured the founda-
endlessly demands of the self in front of a tions of modern sovereignty in Europe as
returning other which can neither be avoided nor
well as beyond. In that context, new tech-
overcome the establishment and cultivation
nologies of state power were of paramount
without assimilating each other to the category of
sameness of a mutual and durable relationship. importance. Antony Carty aptly portrays the
The understanding of diplomacy as heterology implications of that transformation:
comes easily from the attentive examination of
Knowledge presupposes a subject, and this sub-
the phenomenology of diplomacy, its observable
ject, for international relations, is the Hobbesian
practices, accumulated experiences and related
sovereign who is not named, but names, not
sociabilities. That understanding of diplomatic observed, but observes, a mystery for whom eve-
knowledge as a venue for empathy and mutual rything must be transparent. The problem of
self-transformation has been widely confirmed knowledge is that of security, which is attained
by historical research. through rational control and analysis Other
sovereigns are not unknown others in the modern
anthropological sense, but simply enemies, oppo-
nents, with conflicting interests, whose behaviour
can and should be calculated. (Carty 2007: 6)
STATECRAFT At the risk of oversimplifying, the corre-
sponding historical events that framed that
Whilst the previous section examined the transformation can be summarized as follows:
importance of diplomacy as a venue for first, wars of religion; then competition
humanistic discovery of otherness, diplo- amongst European monarchies; later the radi-
matic knowledge also has been fostered, cal challenge of the French Revolution and
since ancient times, by utilitarian considera- the subsequent spread of the Napoleonic
tions and hidden intentions, even acquiring in wars; and finally and simultaneously European
modern diplomacy undisputable centrality. colonial expansion and the rise of Western
The importance given to a states stability imperialism. All these critical historical
and self-preservation under the doctrine of aspects, in their combination of accumulated
reason of state served historically to justify effects, largely displaced the humanist tradi-
a reconsideration of the very rationale of tion in diplomacy to a secondary role, forging
diplomatic knowledge, largely displacing instead the theory and practice of diplomacy
Diplomatic knowledge 139

as statecraft that remains highly influential the writing of short but relevant and inquisi-
nowadays (cf. Graig and George 2013). That tive reports based in the model offered by the
historical process, which was crucial for the Venetian relazioni. But those treatises also
global emergence of the modern states system, included advice about the careful execution
was coincidental with the professionalization of some covert methods of intelligence such
of diplomacy and the emergence of new dip- as espionage, surveillance, eavesdropping or
lomatic bureaucracies. These bodies were the use of ciphered messages and cryptogra-
dedicated not only to knowledge production phy. As Colson has pointed out, diplomats:
and information gathering but also, as histori-
ans have recently pointed out, to the produc- needed to find ways to protect their own
secrets from third parties and uncover the secrets
tion of ignorance, always submitted to the of others. These concerns from earlier times
better performance of the operational needs helped to establish secrecy as the paradigm for
of modern statecraft (cf. Wieland 2012). As modern negotiation. (Colson 2008: 179)
previously discussed, that transition was not
always straightforward, however. Initially, Despite the frequent eruption of incidents, the
critical distinctions were often effaced compatibility of those techniques of espio-
amongst writers, philosophers, medics, art- nage and secrecy with the shared standards of
ists, naturalists, diplomats and spies at this diplomacy was commonly accepted during
particular moment in history in which a new that long historical period in which the bases
world vision was taking shape (Ordine 1999). of modern diplomacy crystallized (Pearton
But the fact remains that it was at that histori- 1982). More importantly, despite the succes-
cal moment when diplomatic knowledge, and sive challenges posed by the American,
the mastering of its corresponding techniques, French and Soviet revolutions, the new canon
was considered for the very first time as survived for centuries without significant
worthy of professionalization and all-encom- changes, from Wicquefort to Kissinger, from
passing rationalization. wars of religion to the Cold War (cf. Berridge
In that particular context, a number of influ- etal. 2001). Only in the early decades of the
ential diplomatic treatises were published twentieth century, when advocates of the so-
from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries called new diplomacy acquired significant
establishing the canon on the proper combina- albeit fleeting prominence, some limitations
tion of knowledge and skills that any diplomat to secret diplomacy were agreed without sub-
was expected to demonstrate and to duly per- stantially changing the terms of the debate
form (cf. Behrens 1936; Bazzoli 2002). From (Weisbrode 2014). The corresponding legal
the analytical prism that this chapter adopts, and administrative regimes designed for the
however, more than in the doctrinal dimen- management of diplomatic knowledge such
sion itself, we shall concentrate our attention as those regulating the place of secrecy and
on the variety and durability of techniques public disclosure of information or the
that this new understanding of diplomatic recourse to some special methods were
knowledge as statecraft entailed. Generally developed in parallel, rapidly acquiring the
written by experienced diplomats, such as profiles that are still recognizable today
by Vera, Wicquefort or Callires, those pio- within diplomatic services all over the world
neering treatises offered a variety of practical (cf. Rangarajan 1998; Stempel 2007).
recommendations about some critical aspects Despite the formal incompatibility of
related to diplomatic practice. Aspects such espionage with the Vienna Convention on
as the importance of paying due attention Diplomatic Relations adopted in 1961, such
and respect to ceremony and protocol, the old forms of intermingling diplomacy and
prudent management of the delicate negotia- espionage survived, conveniently updated
tions including those conducted in secrecy, or and refined, in contemporary practice. This

is clearly shown in the widespread use of in diplomatic training, as well as in the

equivalent contemporary techniques such as importance of a closer cooperation between
data mining, network and traceability analy- diplomatic services and the private sector
ses, social networks surveillance, and satellite- through the cultivation of innovative clusters
based Geographical Information Systems within global transnational networks (cf. Del
(GIS). The persistence of these practices Giudice et al. 2012).
within democratic political systems, and their Successive technological and other material
ambiguous ethical foundations, are subject to innovations, from telegraphy to digital social
a new scrutiny nevertheless, frequently raising networks, constantly modify, however, the
severe criticisms in both academia and interna- organizational infrastructures of diplomatic
tional media. For some observers, intelligence services all over the world, transforming not
and diplomacy despite occasional overlaps only their material environment but also their
are realities clearly differentiated: whilst the working routines and even the emotional cli-
former provides knowledge by special meth- mate in which they operate (see Dittmer 2016).
ods the latter uses it (cf. Herman 1998: As Black and Bryant convincingly assert:
1). For others, in contrast, the distinction is
The historic knowledge-management role of the
both theoretically and practically fuzzy, thus diplomat highlights the part technology has played
deserving a systematic and critical examina- in the world of diplomacy, including the relation-
tion of its ethical justification and pragmatic ship between the ambassador abroad and the
necessity (cf. Bjola 2013). Recently, however, political centre. It also offers a further perspective
the growing awareness of the ultimate uncon- on the ways in which technologies open up new
possibilities, intended and unintended, often
trollability of new information technologies, fraught with ambiguity and potential for enhance-
as exemplified in the Wikileaks case, has ment and disruption. (Black and Bryant 2011: 1)
provoked a serious reconsideration not only
of its ethical justification but also of its tech- Unsurprisingly, the impact of new social
nical feasibility. Whilst some observers con- media on diplomacy has been a subject of
sider that the age of secret diplomacy may considerable interest. Arguably, their rapid
have come to an end (cf. Colson 2009), others and widespread diffusion all over the world
understand the impact of new technologies in both constrains and enables new modes of
terms of a new illusion of transparency, which diplomatic knowledge management, and dip-
will hardly displace it (cf. Bolt 2010; Page lomatic services all over the world try to
and Spence 2011; Roberts 2011). maximize their possible functionalities (cf.
Beyond its more controversial dimen- Holme and Ghoshal 2009). But they do so in
sions, however, diplomatic knowledge can a way far less linear than we frequently tend
also be approached in terms of its standard- to think. As Archetti has convincingly sum-
ized practices and routines. Kurbalija aptly marized, the variety of actors and audiences
identifies three main dimensions of diplo- that interact nowadays, either face-to-face or
macy as knowledge management: (a) intel- virtually, use technologies to pursue their
ligent access to information; (b) automation own agendas within the structure of opportu-
of procedures through workflow and rou- nities and constrains of the specific environ-
tine; and (c) cultivation of knowledge as an ment in which they operate, in a way that
institutional resource (Kurbalija 2002). His remains elusive to comfortable generaliza-
approach serves to introduce a new under- tions (Archetti 2012: 206).
standing of diplomatic knowledge influ- Diplomatic knowledge can also be
enced by knowledge-management theories approached through the examination of the
imported from the corporate world. These organizations structures, such as the national
approaches put an emphasis on giving more foreign services that contain it. Based on his
serious attention to knowledge management ethnographic work on the contemporary
Diplomatic knowledge 141

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, professionalization of diplomacy and the emer-

Neumann argues that when diplomats are gence of modern diplomatic bureaucracies.
posted abroad their work can be basically Through the development and mastering of its
understood as a form of knowledge produc- corresponding techniques, these administrative
tion framed in highly specific and ephemeral bodies performed an all-encompassing process of
the rationalization of diplomacy and ever chang-
social constellations, highly dependent on
ing adaptation that remains observable nowadays.
the perceptions and sociability of diplomats Despite its incompatibility with diplomatic law,
themselves (Neumann 2012: 7). Conversely, some old forms of intermingling diplomacy and
when they are placed at home their work espionage survived, as clearly shown in the
tends to be significantly more bureaucratic, widespread use of equivalent contemporary tech-
frequently adopting a distinctive institutional niques such as data mining, network and trace-
tone which is less indicative of the need to ability analyses, social networks surveillance,
express a personal opinion or an insightful remote sensing and GIS. The persistence of these
personal analysis than of the perceived need practices within democratic political systems, and
to fit within a wider consensual ministerial their disputable ethical foundations, are subject
voice. Neumanns insights may be applied to a new scrutiny nevertheless.
Diplomatic knowledge can also be approached
to diplomatic innovations such as that rep-
through the examination of the organizations
resented by the European External Action structures, such as those of national foreign
Service (EEAS), to the extent in which their services and international organizations, and
corresponding organizational transforma- more recently, in the context of some innova-
tions can be examined as the expression of a tive institutions such as the European External
new transnational form of diplomatic knowl- Actions Service (EEAS). Ethnographic research
edge production in the making (Cross 2007; reveals that when diplomats are posted abroad,
Kuus 2013; Bicchi 2013) see also Chapters 4 their work tends to be highly context-specific and
and 5 in this Handbook). credited not only to the analytical competence
In sum, as aptly formulated by Cornut, but also to the social skills of diplomats them-
diplomats remain primarily knowledge pro- selves. In contrast, those working at the head-
quarters frequently adopt a more bureaucratic
ducers, using their craft to understand and
and consensual institutional tone.
represent a situation as well as possible
(Cornut 2015: 385). For so doing they must
combine analytic competence with social
skills, deploying a number of distinctive
practices, not only within the walls of their DIPLOMATIC MODE OF KNOWLEDGE
own embassies or in dialogue with their peers
within the diplomatic corps in a particular This final section brings our discussion beyond
country, but also, and very specially, cultivat- the diplomatic realm. Not in vain, the signifi-
ing social interaction with the most diverse cance of diplomacy as a mode of knowledge
local agents: government and administrative has been vindicated recently by some out-
officers, the common people they meet in the standing contemporary intellectual figures
markets and streets, or political, religious, that, paradoxically, remain largely ignored in
cultural or business elites (cf. Cornut 2015). the field of diplomatic studies. A new under-
standing of diplomacy as a form of practical
knowledge is taking ground, becoming
increasingly influential in the most disparate
Key Points fields. This new understanding does not, how-
The understanding of diplomatic knowledge ever, fit the restrictive assumptions that char-
as statecraft, under the doctrine of reason of acterize the on-going discussions on
state, was historically coincidental with the communities of practice, conventionally

circumscribed to knowledge production and based on the unfair comparison of cultures by

collective learning within specific professional those installed in a self-assigned ethnographic
communities (e.g. Wenger 2000). Quite the authority (see Clifford 1983) but in the expe-
opposite, those advocating for a generalization riential knowledge acquired by diplomats in
of diplomacy, a sort of socialization of diplo- their practical intercourse (Latour 2000; 2004;
matic knowledge beyond professional diplo- 2007). In Latours view, the predicament for
macy, as the most promising way of facing the this new diplomatic inspired anthropology
challenges of contemporary global life, rarely is less a matter of knowledge about other cul-
are diplomats themselves. Business consult- tures than about the challenge of peaceful and
ants, social workers, educators, scientists and sustainable coexistence. This implies the
lawyers (e.g. Saner 2000; Mormont 2007; enhancement of symmetrical capability to
Lee, Witte and Cusick 2015; Thoreau and revise each sides own assumptions, and
Despret 2014; Bartram et al. 2015; Braithwaite
and Hong 2015) are the most active in this to appear once again in front of other peoples
trend. Isabelle Stengers contribution to this with a new peace offering. Diplomats are used to
these kinds of redefinitions, they always know
debate has been particularly pioneering and how to rephrase their requirements, this is why
influential. She strongly suggests the need to they are cleverer than scientist-philosophers. But
generalize the experiences and practical they run the risk, or course, of being called unscru-
knowledge of diplomats to many other fields: pulous traitors. (Latour 2007: 20)

I have named as diplomats those participants

Moral philosopher Pablo Iannone (1999:
whose obligations designate the possibility of gen-
erating rhizomatic connections where conflict 745) has also promoted the idea of diplo-
seems to prevail To speak about diplomacy is to macy as a particularly promising model for
speak about borders and the possibility of wars. wider social and political practice with simi-
Borders do not mean that connections are cut but lar arguments. He contends that, as an open-
that they are matters of arrangement. Reciprocity
ended activity, diplomacy avoids the
itself, if it exists, is part of an arrangement, with
different risks and challenges for each involved shortcomings of both consequentialist and
party As such, the art of diplomacy does not deontological approaches to moral philoso-
refer to goodwill, togetherness, the sharing of a phy, favouring instead a realistic and prag-
common language, or an intersubjective under- matic approach to the many challenges of
standing. Neither is a matter of negotiation
social and political life. More specifically, he
between flexible humans who should be ready to
adapt as the situation changes Such events summarizes the virtues of diplomacy as fol-
have nothing to do with heartfelt reconciliation: lows: first, he argues that diplomacy is sensi-
neither are they meant to produce mutual under- tive to the concurrent varieties of policy and
standing. Indeed, they are such that each party decisional problems, and procedural alterna-
may entertain its own version of the agreement
tives; second, in contrast with approaches that
It is an art that does not exhibit a deeper truth than
their very achievement. (Stengers 2010: 29) hopelessly seek consensus or invariably opt
for confrontation, diplomacy aims to ascer-
Consequently, Stengers finds in the diplo- tain the procedures that are likely to address
mats an inspiring model that may serve to the problems in a feasible and effective way;
forge a new cosmopolitanism, not under the third, diplomacy is realistic insofar that it
sign of any universalized singular, but upon does not merely dwell on abstract ideas, but
the need to manage the unavoidable recur- on the social fact that there is a recurrent
rence of global multiplicity in a constructive issue that something should be done about it;
way (Stengers 2011). That understanding of fourth, diplomacy does not presuppose that
diplomacy is largely shared by Bruno Latour, problems are either exclusively or primarily
who has repeatedly advocated the idea of a settled through the appeal to principles, no
new symmetrical anthropology no longer matter how important these may be; fifth,
Diplomatic knowledge 143

diplomacy recognizes that policy-making and contrasting modes of knowledge production

theoretical assessments of the moment are produce in their most dedicated practitioners
often unfeasible to spell out all significant may offer valuable insights about the future
implications of a particular problem; and of diplomacy in a fast-changing world (see
sixth, and perhaps the most important: also Chapters 6 and 810 in this Handbook).
diplomacy takes seriously the fact that certain
unsettled data are worked out in the process and
are not available at the time initial policy discus- Key Points
sions take place. Indeed they often result in part
A new understanding of diplomacy as a form of
from such discussions. The process of critical scru-
tiny and social interaction leads to the settlement practical knowledge is taking ground becoming
of reasons for assessing policies and decisions. increasingly influential in the most disparate
These are new, previously non-existent, and hardly fields beyond the diplomatic services all over the
predictable data. (Iannone 1999: 75) word. This new understanding does not, however,
fit the restrictive assumptions that character-
Consequently, against the presentation of ize conventional approaches to diplomacy. An
diplomats and scientific experts as necessary increasingly important number of voices, coming
contenders (Auer 1998), or the dismissal of from the most disparate fields, advocate for a
diplomacy and diplomats as irrelevant for the generalization of diplomacy, a sort of socializa-
global production or dissemination of tion of diplomatic knowledge beyond profes-
sional diplomacy, as the most promising way of
knowledge (e.g. Stehr and Ufer 2009), some
facing the challenges of contemporary global life.
voices are defending consistently the under- The revalorization of diplomatic knowledge in
standing of diplomatic knowledge in a way contemporary epistemology and anthropol-
that may serve as a model in the most dispa- ogy, and the growing recognition of its validity
rate fields. The revalorization of diplomatic amongst educators, consultants, social workers
knowledge in contemporary epistemology and lawyers, can be read in short as a sort of
and anthropology can be read in short as a vindication of the value of diplomatic skills vis-
sort of vindication of the value of diplomatic a-vis the limitations of scientific expertise, policy
skills vis-a-vis the limitations of scientific advice and legal adjudication, in contexts of
expertise and policy advice in contexts of social complexity and epistemic uncertainty.
social complexity and epistemic uncertainty
(cf. Ravetz 2006; Funtowicz and Ravetz
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Embassies, Permanent Missions
and Special Missions
Kishan S. Rana

Even more than the foreign ministry, the since in common perception they are cloaked
resident embassy symbolizes the international in exotica, glamor and mystery.
system. Embassies are older than the In times ancient, kingdoms of varied hue
institutions that came up in home capitals to sent out emissaries, often on special missions,
manage them; it was the need to furnish sometimes to reside at foreign courts. The
manpower for embassies, absorb their Amarna Archives (13501330 BC), clay tab-
reportage, and manage them that led to the lets of ancient Egypt, contain correspondence
establishment of foreign ministries, starting between the administration of the Pharaohs
with France. As foreign country outposts and representatives of kingdoms in Babylonia,
embedded in the receiving state, embassies Assyria, Syria, Cyprus and elsewhere. In other
manifest for each country their connection world regions, too, that same method was used,
with the outside world. For the host country, sending empowered representatives to foreign
embassies are accessible representations of kingdoms. Kautilyas Arthashastra, complied
the other, in culture, ways of life, and often in the third century BC as a comprehensive trea-
language as well. tise on statecraft, offers advice to the envoy
The publics see diplomatic missions as residing in the foreign court.1 Rudimentary
expressions of their international personality. notions of immunity of envoys emerged in
For countries that were colonies and struggled those days, founded on the understanding that
long for their independence, the exchange of they were messengers of other powers, and that
embassies is proof of sovereignty, i.e. their their ill treatment would invite reciprocal action.
presence in the international system, and also Reciprocity remains the central ingredient of
their equality with other nations. In every the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic
capital, the media track news and activity of Relations (VCDR), the universal doctrine gov-
foreign embassies with a particular fervor, erning the functioning of diplomatic missions.

RECENT HISTORY non-state actors, including public diplomacy,

under some regulation. But there is little
Up to the beginning of the twentieth century, appetite among states for starting a revision
embassies were exchanged mainly between process, and even less prospect for crafting
monarchies and republics. Some were at the new consensus over a revised framework.
level of legations, a lesser form of diplomatic In sum, the resident embassy is unchanged
representation than the embassy; for instance, in basic structure over several hundreds of
even in 1945, the majority of foreign missions years, while its ways of work have evolved.
in London and Washington DC were lega- In contrast, the permanent mission is of
tions, headed by ministers plenipotentiary. recent origin, as a key player in multilateral
But as decolonization moved forward after and regional diplomacy.
the end of World War II, newly independent
states opted for embassies as their standard
form of representation and the legation has
gone the way of the Dodo. CONTEMPORARY EMBASSY: IN
The 1961 VCDR was negotiated for more REGRESSION OR RENAISSANCE?
than two years, on the basis of a draft pro-
duced by the International Law Commission; Conventional wisdom suggests that advances
it codified existing international regulations in communications have tightened control by
and conventional practices, but also brought foreign ministries and governments over
in some innovation.2 VCDR is a child of the embassies, reducing their latitude for pleni-
Cold War, and incorporates some provisions potentiary or discretionary action. That has
that are rooted in that ethos.3 Some of its reg- indeed been the case, but other trends have
ulations have been overtaken by technology; also been at work in parallel, producing a
for instance, elaborate provisions governing complex net outcome that reflects interplay
the installation of radio links by embassies of counter-currents. Thus, while embassies
have become redundant in an internet age are tied more closely to the home capital than
of quotidian global connectivity. But its key anyone might have imagined even two dec-
provision of untrammeled immunity for dip- ades back, one result is a counter-intuitive
lomatic officials is as vital today as when it enhancement in the embassys role.
was framed; it is the pillar on which ambassa- Let us briefly list the elements that influence
dors and embassy personnel function. VCDR the work of embassies, before we consider the
essentially covers the activities of govern- consequences. These are: the entry of many
ments acting through embassies, to reach out new state and non-official actors in interna-
to the official agencies of the receiving coun- tional affairs; an expanded direct role of the
try, specifying that the foreign ministry is the head of government in foreign issues, includ-
prime channel of contact for foreign embas- ing participation in bilateral, regional and
sies, a provision that embassies routinely global summits; new technical, interlocking
breach today.4 VCDR did not anticipate the and amorphous issues in international dialogue
development of public diplomacy as an that bring in issues of human and environ-
activity undertaken by official agencies and mental security; intermingling of foreign and
by non-state actors, reaching out to publics domestic issues as a consequence of globali-
and non-state actors in foreign states, to pro- zation and interdependence; an expanded role
ject their own viewpoints, to influence them. played by publics, domestic and foreign, in
A few scholars and practitioners hold VCDR shaping outcomes; and the emergence of an
to be outdated, and would like to see its pro- international order that is more democratic and
visions concerning immunity to be modi- region-focused than before, in effect mediating
fied; some wish to bring activities directed at the exercise of conventional power, with new
Embassies, Permanent Missions and Special Missions 151

concepts such as soft power and country Second, a further consequence of the
brands. How do these impact on the embassy? above situation is that the embassy needs
First, as a consequence of the explosion alertness, and a wide local network of con-
in information, the bilateral embassy is now tacts, for a holistic understanding of devel-
the best resource for the country on develop- opments, to offer to the home stakeholders,
ments in the assignment country. With feet on not just the MFA, the full range of informa-
the ground, it can offer a holistic perspective tion they require on the assignment country.6
on developments there, and how these impact The embassy is no longer the lead negotia-
on the interests of the home country. With tor on most issues, since it is the functional
plural actors, state and non-state, involved ministries that handle such bilateral dialogue.
in the bilateral relationship, it is only the Butthey depend on the advice of the embassy
embassy on the ground that has information on the cultural cues and negotiation tech-
on the activities they undertake in that assign- niques they are likely to encounter from the
ment country, on which the foreign ministry other side. The old requirement for language
is often out of the picture. For instance, very expertise and area specialization is thus rein-
few business enterprises keep their govern- forced; countries that had reduced emphasis
ments informed of their foreign activities, but on these skills, such as the UK, are now rein-
it is often ones embassy in the target country forcing them (House of Commons, 2011).
that is likely to have some information; that Third, the embassy gains in value as a
applies even more to foreign collaboration by contributor to the MFAs domestic outreach,
academic institutions and think tanks. Not all because of the breadth of its contacts with
foreign ministries fully take this into account, home partners that are involved in economic,
because superficially it goes against the tenet cultural, educational, media, S&T and other
that it is the headquarters that gives authorita- activities in the assignment country. In prac-
tive assessments on bilateral relations. tice, the embassy depends on these varied
Application of information and commu- stakeholders for its own contacts and actions
nications technology (ICT), especially the in the assignment country, as an agent for
use of intranets for MFAembassy com- whole of government and whole of coun-
munication, means that embassies can be try, holistic diplomacy. This too rebalances
virtually embedded into the MFA, permitting the MFAembassy equation.
them access to foreign ministry dossiers, and Fourth, aid delivery and management is
engaging them in continual conversation. witness to disintermediation. Most Western
For instance, in contrast to the past when an donors have transferred to their embassies
embassy might only be consulted once or responsibility for aid disbursement within
twice during the formulation of a proposal the allotment for the recipient country. The
in the ministry, it is now possible to treat fact that more of this aid now goes to local
the embassy as a constituent in the decision NGOs and for small schemes, with direct
process; even before a proposal takes shape, impact on local beneficiaries, also adds to
a desk officer can consult an embassy coun- the embassys role. Developing countries that
terpart for a first reaction, through point-to- increasingly implement their own aid pro-
point confidential communication that may grams also use embassies as delivery agents
not be subject to the protocol that applies for their project aid, and even more for the
to cypher messages.5 This happens in some deployment of their technical assistance that
Western countries, notably Austria, Canada, has special focus on training programs, nec-
Germany and the UK, which have conse- essarily based on the needs of the recipients.7
quently thinned out staff in their foreign min- The above developments impact on the
istry territorial units, and redeployed them to embassys role in the bilateral relationship. If
work on cross-cutting, thematic issues. the embassy is the locus of information, and

has the best concentration of specialists on and is now seen to be at the disposal of the
the country concerned, why not also use it as government as a whole. In particular, the head
a partner in decision-making? Countries such of government is now a direct participant in
as the UK and Germany now do this, partly international affairs, which makes the ambas-
as a consequence of staff reductions in ter- sador sometimes directly answerable to the
ritorial units at the foreign ministry. But the head, and more frequently to the office of the
notion is anathema to other countries such head. The new element today is that indirectly
as China and the US, where such reductions the embassy is under the influence of a wide
have not taken place, and where the MFA range of non-official agencies that have a
embassy personnel balance remains tilted strong stake in the assignment country, includ-
heavily in favor of the MFA.8 ing but not limited to: opposition political
While the above narrative takes into account parties, in strongly democratic states, which
most of the new trends noted at the start of this expect to receive briefings from embassies on
section, how does more direct involvement of their foreign visits;9 associations of business
the head of government into foreign affairs and even individual enterprises; academic and
impact on the embassy? When heads and S&T institutions and think tanks; the media;
even foreign ministers communicate with civil society actors and development agen-
one another via smart phone messages and cies; and the public at large, if an issue gains
other forms of personal communications, the popular attention, as with consular cases or
foreign ministry establishment is often left out evacuation of ones citizens in the midst of
of the loop, at least in real time. The situation foreign conflict. Among these, business exerts
for the embassy is no better, but it has slightly a strong influence much of the time.
better prospects for catch-up by virtue of its While the embassy is not directly answer-
local contacts, not just at the foreign ministry able to entities in the receiving state, official
but also vis--vis the office of the foreign head and non-state actors may exert some influence
of government. In this respect, too, it becomes on it, as a relatively weak force. The diaspora
a resource for the home foreign ministry. is an element of rising importance, given
Rather little of the above applies to embas- heavy international movement of people, both
sies of developing countries in Africa, Asia in pursuit of work and as migrants; in our
and Latin America, except insofar that: first, globalized world, the home public also show
all countries are party to the information sharp concern for their welfare. That makes
explosion that has made foreign ministries embassies concerned with their diaspora, even
depend on their embassies for comprehensive if they have taken up citizenships in their new
information on the assignment country; sec- homeland. Increasingly, the diaspora is now a
ond, with plural actors engaged in external link between the states concerned.
activity, the MFA depends on the embassy to
provide a more complete picture of the home
countrys engagement overseas. Both these Key Points
factors enhance the utility of embassies.
Who are the main entities that guide The bilateral embassy has a bigger role than
embassies? Are embassies only answerable to before in the formulation of policy and in its
execution, which adds to its work demands.
the home country, or do some elements in the
It functions more closely with varied state and
receiving country also affect their work? Let non-state partners, both in the home country and
us first look at the home agencies. Under the in the country of assignment, including diaspora
classic format, the foreign ministry has been groups. This adds to its ability to monitor issues,
the master of the diplomatic system, with giving it a holistic perspective.
direct day-to-day control over embassies. But The embassy also finds itself answerable to a
the embassy represents the entire country, wider range of home actors than hitherto.
Embassies, Permanent Missions and Special Missions 153

NEW EMBASSY FORMS are often nationals of foreign countries, or

members of ones diaspora, or other long-
In most countries, foreign ministries are con- term residents in the target country (see
fronting budgets cuts and manpower reduc- Chapter 13 in this Handbook). This does not
tions. In consequence, networks of overseas provide diplomatic representation; honorary
missions are often, but not always, shrinking. consuls work on consular, commercial, cul-
At the same time, international commitments tural and related tasks, but not political tasks.
have expanded for most, so that they look for They do fly the flag, and provide limited
different kinds of representation options, support to the home country at almost zero
going beyond the established method of cost. Honorary consuls, who may be located
concurrent accreditation under which one in a foreign capital or in other cities, can be of
embassy simultaneously handles representa- considerable practical assistance in building
tion in other countries, usually in its neigh- local contacts, and help businessmen and vis-
borhood. A few countries, such as Brazil, iting delegations, in addition to undertaking
China, Mexico and Turkey, have significantly some consular tasks. Many developing states
expanded their embassy networks; India is could benefit from more extensive use of
slowly adding new missions. honorary consuls, but are perhaps inhibited
One method is a non-resident ambassa- by perceived difficulties in choosing the right
dor, when someone typically based in the individuals. Managing an extensive network
home country it may be a senior foreign of this kind also requires the foreign ministry
ministry official, a businessman or public to invest in manpower and effort to assist and
figure takes on a part-time ambassadorial supervise them.
position, traveling to the assignment country Other approaches have emerged. One is
a few times in the year, sometimes accompa- to concentrate staff in select regional embas-
nied by a young MFA official.10 Malta and sies, which become service providers to
Singapore appoint some twenty to thirty such smaller missions in that neighborhood. For
envoys. It is not a substitute for resident rep- instance, an agriculture or IT expert based
resentation, but is an effective alternative to at one embassy can serve neighboring mis-
no representation at all. sions. Such a hub-and-spoke arrangement
A variation on the above, used especially by pools services; sometimes it engenders the
Scandinavian countries, is the laptop ambas- thought that a regional embassy under a sen-
sador who visits the country of assignment ior ambassador might also supervise neigh-
for a few weeks at a time, say in advance of a boring missions, but no one has tried this,
major event like an outbound visit by a high perhaps as it would add a needless interme-
personality from the home country, operating diate layer.11
out of a hotel. For the rest of the time, the
official attends to his duties from the home
capital. On occasion they embed an ambas- Key Points
sador in a fellow-Scandinavian embassy,
sharing some services, usually without any It is likely that new forms of representation will
direct staff support. The UK and a few oth- be tried out more in the years ahead, including
embassies that are trimmer and share facilities
ers have also resorted to sending from home
with others, as well as replacing some resident
an ambassador unsupported by any home- missions with non-resident ambassadors, and
based staff, relying on the services of locally wider use of honorary consuls, to cope with
recruited personnel for support. budget cutbacks.
An entirely different approach is to bring In contrast, some countries are still at a phase
into the overseas representation network a of expanding their diplomatic representation
substantial number of honorary consuls, who networks.

PERMANENT MISSIONS personal credibility and interpersonal skills

are at a premium. Chairing a meeting, or act-
Diplomatic representation attached to an ing as a rapporteur, calls for domain skill that
international organization is called a perma- comes mainly from practice, as does work in a
nent mission, distinguishing it from delega- drafting group that hammers out a resolution or
tions sent to take part in conferences and statement; this is part of the essential training
other activities at these organizations. In in multilateral work. Permanent missions do
practice these permanent missions are not engage in economic, cultural, consular, or
attached by member-states to the UN and its other kinds of outreach, though on the margins
agencies, and also to regional organizations, of conferences and other meetings, bilateral
to work with these entities on a continuous contacts are pursued by leaders, be it at New
basis. They serve as a mechanism for uninter- York, Geneva, or elsewhere. Small countries
rupted negotiation. The 1961 VCDR, which with limited global networks use these places
does not mention permanent missions, applies for bilateral contact with countries where they
to them loosely; they are governed by the do not have resident representation; here the
rules established by the UN or the concerned permanent mission plays a post office func-
entity, and by agreement between the organi- tion, transmitting messages as needed. New
zation and the country where it is located, a York in particular is a global listening post.
so-called headquarters agreement.12 The diplomats stationed at permanent missions
This has several consequences. Ranks and mainly act as political officers; some are spe-
designations of officials do not follow VCDR cialists. Functional experts on climate change,
norms.13 Permanent missions often have two disarmament, or other issues in dialogue may
or more ambassadors; this rank becomes an be brought in as needed as advisers, or may
honorific, since the head of mission is usually be stationed at these missions, but in general,
called a permanent representative. The work these diplomats are less diversified in the work
handled by permanent missions is narrower in handled than those at embassies.
focus compared with embassies. Their princi- The Organization of American States,
pal interlocutors are the permanent missions headquartered at Washington DC, was one
sent by other countries, i.e. representatives of the first regional organizations to which
of fellow member-states, plus officials at the member-states sent permanent missions,
organizations secretariat. Mutual cultivation by tradition separate from their embassies
among missions is intensive. No less impor- in the US capital. At the EU headquarters at
tant, especially today, are the non-state actors Brussels, the permanent missions of member-
that are active in multilateral and regional countries are vast in size, some with over
diplomacy. This includes the media, from the a hundred diplomat-level officials.14 An
home country and foreign, key information increasing number of regional organizations
multipliers, and non-government organiza- now have permanent representatives attached
tions (NGOs) active on the subjects handled to their secretariats, be it the African Union
by that international organization, often with at Addis Ababa or ASEAN at Jakarta; some
consultative status. These NGOs act as non-members also feel obliged, depending
information providers and as connectors with on their stakes, to send their permanent rep-
civil society, at home and internationally. resentatives to important entities.
Thus, public diplomacy has become a major How has the work of permanent mis-
new task for permanent missions. sions changed over the years? What further
The skills needed for multilateral diplo- evolution should we anticipate? Three main
mats are not intrinsically different from those changes are so far evident. First, the subjects
entailed in bilateral diplomacy, but with special in dialogue have grown, so that diplomats
emphasis on the negotiation craft. As always, attached to such missions now deal with many
Embassies, Permanent Missions and Special Missions 155

new subjects. They need to be quick learners, IMPROVING EMBASSY

not so much to become instant experts, but PERFORMANCE
to absorb new ideas, work with domain spe-
cialists, and integrate their knowledge with The diplomatic system of each country requires
national objectives, to advance the home coun- its overseas missions to contribute to national
trys interests. Second, they have to deal with a objectives. This would typically include
wider gamut of non-state actors and master the national security and a peaceful environment
public diplomacy aspect of multilateral activi- in its neighborhood, development and prosper-
ties. Third, bilateral issues crop up increas- ity through trade, investments and technology,
ingly at multilateral fora, adding to the work and advancing the welfare of people through
burden. This demonstrates the connectedness education, international travel and other
of global, regional and bilateral themes. exchanges. In our globalized age, countries are
Multilateral problem solving is less effec- more dependent on one another than ever
tive than many have hoped. Afghanistan, Iraq, before, as reflected in the ratio of the countrys
Libya and Syria have taught us that the eradi- international trade and foreign investment to
cation of terrorism and elimination of abhor- national GDP, and also in the interconnections
rent regimes involve complex human security between national development and the regional
issues. Seemingly decisive initial results from and global environment.
military intervention engender deeper, per- Do all embassies rise to their potential?
sisting challenges. New concepts such as Much hinges on the degree of professional-
peace-enforcement and responsibility to ism, as well as the motivation and leadership,
protect are increasingly difficult to practice in the embassy, and the training provided to
on the ground. Some scholars have hoped that its personnel. To the extent that politicians
diplomats might practice enlightened mul- and other non-career ambassadors are sent
tilateralism, and follow a professional ethic abroad in many developing countries, notably
that rises above national interests.15 Decades in Africa and Latin America, embassies start
earlier, Harold Nicolson had also spoken in with an initial handicap. Such recourse to non-
such an idealistic vein, but that is neither fea- professionals is distinctly less in Asia, and rare
sible nor likely in an international system that in Western diplomatic systems.16 If we accept
remains animated by sovereign states. that diplomacy is a profession that requires its
We may expect growth in permanent mis- domain knowledge and expertise, it stands to
sions, especially those attached to regional reason that in the main embassies should be
organizations, working along traditional lines, headed by experienced professionals.
but more agile and serving the interests of Embassies are governed by rules framed by
diverse home constituencies, beyond the foreign the MFA, and are typically supervised jointly
ministry. Diplomats working at these would by MFA territorial units and by the administra-
continue to widen skillsets and competencies. tion mechanism, the former concentrating on
functional output and the latter on managing
personnel and rule compliance. How they per-
Key Points form depends on: selection of personnel, espe-
cially the ambassador; the training given to both
Diplomatic missions that are embedded in
them and locally engaged staff; aligning their
international and regional organizations are in
essence permanent mechanisms for negotiation,
work to the objectives of the MFA; the qual-
focused on much narrower agendas, compared ity of their tasking and supervision; monitoring
with bilateral embassies. performance, typically through annual assess-
They deal with wide range of subjects, in an envi- ments; and mentoring, morale and motivation.
ronment that is dynamic and volatile, calling for high The traditional methods for performance
professional skills. Their numbers are likely to grow. enhancement include periodic inspection of

embassies through visits by senior officials Other countries have come up with their own
from the MFA, who examine staff strength methods. India requires its embassies to produce
and suitability to the assigned tasks, and the an annual plan of action, but does not enforce
working of different sections of the embassy, this with any rigor.18 In the mid-2000s, the Thai
ranging from political to economic and con- Foreign Ministry prepared a five-year projection
of what it sought to achieve in its relations with
sular, plus the quality of supervision over
some 25 major partner countries, with inputs
all these activities by the ambassador. In from other ministries and official agencies. This
the better systems, the focus is not so much is a particularly wholesome method of forward
on the assessment and grading of individu- planning, for managing bilateral relations.
als, important as this is, but also help for the
embassy to overcome problems and to deliver Performance enhancement actions are of real
better results. utility if they help embassies to better work
In well-managed MFAs, performance on their tasks. That depends on whether the
evaluation methods have been refined, accom- stipulated norms are relevant and applied in
modating ideas borrowed from corporate man- realistic fashion, taking into account the
agement that are applied across public services intrinsically unquantifiable nature of diplo-
(Rana, 2013: 8993). They may include: matic work. It is also essential to distinguish
between process and outcomes; for instance,
Aligning embassies tasks to the MFAs major an embassy or a foreign ministry can stipu-
priorities. The MFA typically sets these at three
late that x number of ministerial visits or
cascading levels: principal national objectives;
delegations are to be exchanged, but say
several goals articulated under each objective;
and finally a compendium of desired outputs nothing about the results from those visits.
or deliverables for each goal. Embassy tasks Outcomes in diplomacy are notoriously dif-
thus become an extension of these MFA objec- ficult to quantify. Further, one can set a target
tives. Some foreign ministries stipulate elabo- for bilateral trade or flow of foreign direct
rate embassy tasks without setting out their investment, but since the result hinges on
own objectives, which produces responses from actions by business enterprises, official
embassies that are unrealistic and difficult to agents, be they embassies or ministries, can
assess or implement.17 only speak of their facilitator roles, the more
Some countries, ranging from Botswana to so as outcomes depend on many exogenous
Malaysia to the UK, require their embassies to
project their activities against Key Performance
With all such caveats, monitoring embassy
Indicator matrices. Other countries, including
Canada, Kenya and Switzerland, take this a step performance is an inexact science. No par-
further to sign performance contracts with ticular method can be identified as best. Yet
ambassadors. This has shown mixed results. it is useful to benchmark, and refine, ones
The French have pioneered the method of ambas- monitoring and assessment mechanism. It is
sadors instructions, under which every envoy also worthwhile to heed the advice of a 2011
setting out at the start of a mission receives in British parliamentary committee, which
Paris elaborate, custom-tailored guidelines on the cautioned the Foreign and Commonwealth
tasks that this individual is expected to accom- Office against an excess of managerialism,
plish, on behalf of all the ministries that have saying:
a stake in that bilateral relationship. Within six
months the ambassador presents to Quai dOrsay
We received evidence that this was a factor behind
a plan of action to implement these instruc- the claimed decline in the quality of FCO foreign
tions, along with a request for resources, human policy work, as it led to managerial skills being
and material, that are deemed essential (Rana, emphasized rather than geographic knowledge,
2013: 91). A few other European countries have and time and attention to be diverted from core
adopted a similar method, with mixed results. diplomatic functions. (House of Commons, 2011: 3)
Embassies, Permanent Missions and Special Missions 157

Key Points To the extent that priority is given to setting

goals and direction, such methods can deliver
Embassies and foreign ministries confront value. But rigid application of evaluation criteria
demands that are common to public services borrowed from the corporate world leads to
across the world: to deliver value and to be pointless form filling and applying standards that
measured in their performance. The essentially miss the real work of diplomacy management.
unquantifiable nature of the bulk of diplomatic
tasks makes this problematic.

Table 12.1 Embassy functions: past, present and anticipated

Function Traditional Contemporary Future
Representation Core activity, embassy as Somewhat taken for granted. Expect greater plurality, including
exclusive agent. Embassies rub shoulders with within embassies; diplomats
other official representatives, will jostle with representatives
face problems over establishing of other official agencies, sub-
primacy coordinating local state entities, and non-state
actions (US issues Presidential actors. Embassy will remain
Letters; Thailand has law naming prime channel for official
ambassador as CEO of Team contact, and best source on
Thailand) (Rana, 2013: 74). local information.
Main influencers Foreign Ministry of home A wide range of official agencies, All the agencies mentioned
country, plus other across the entire government are earlier, plus the publics in
branches of government. its customers; also parliament general, in the home country,
Especially answerable to entities; plus non-state actors that and to an extent also the
the head of government. have a stake in the assignment publics of the receiving
country. Indirectly, the embassy state. The diaspora in the
is also under the influence of receiving country is a special
official and non-official agencies responsibility for the embassy.
of the receiving country.
Negotiation Embassies as prime channel. Functional ministries handle their Embassies act more as facilitators,
own negotiations; they involve with reduced direct role in
embassies to a limited extent. negotiations; will remain key
resource for advice on cultural
and other local characteristics.
Relation Central task, under close In practical terms, this is highest Will become multi-dimensional
building supervision from home, priority, involving full range of activity, in which public
with main focus on official official actors, including sub-state diplomacy dimension will be
actors, and limited outreach entities; business actors; media; especially important. Much of
to non-state agents. academia and think tanks; the process but of course
diaspora; plus publics across not all will be open, and
entire range, including NGOs and accessible to outside scrutiny.
civil society, and anyone that Further growth in interactive
influences bilateral, regional and social media will add to
international activities of target openness.
country. Embassy is increasingly
a co-manager, together with
the MFA.
Promotion Starting in 1950s, trade Economic promotion and public Likely to remain major priority.
promotion grew in outreach have become core Publicprivate partnerships
importance; attracting FDI tasks. will grow in importance.
became new task from end


Table 12.1 Embassy functions: past, present and anticipated (continued)

Function Traditional Contemporary Future
Image Not treated as a priority First priority has been to build Will be mainstreamed as key
projection initially, though emergence favorable image to attract tourists, activity. But image marketing
of electronic media made which has morphed into wider specialists may encounter
diplomatic systems aware image projection. Concepts of more savvy diplomatic clients,
of importance of country country brand and re-branding who better understand long-
image. embraced by many states. term nature of image building.
Reportage MFAs depended on embassy Embassy no longer first source Embassy remains key source for:
assessments as key input for hard information; does not comprehensive analysis, joint
into policy making compete with instant news reports by several missions,
sources. Focus has shifted to giving full picture; prediction
predictive analysis, and home of likely developments;
country perspective on external identification of future key
developments. Embassy only actors, in political, economic
one of many other sources for & public fields. Reportage
MFA. telescopes into relationship
Aid Embassies had little role, Has grown in importance; for Embassies will have to mediate
management foreign aid emerged after donors, embassy is now between multiple actors;
World War II. prime delivery channel, with greater role of non-state
some disbursement decisions agents among both donors
delegated; for recipients, and recipients. Also close
outreach to govt. agencies and monitoring by publics and
to NGOs is major task. media.
Services Consular, not a priority activity Consular work has strategic value Migration, travel and diaspora
in age of extensive foreign communities will demand
travel, migration. Public more attention. Education
outreach and information diplomacy will also gain
services also important. Student further traction.
exchanges also larger.

WILL EMBASSIES BE NEEDED track, has witnessed even a slightly greater

IN THE FUTURE? swing in favor of such non-professionals.
To the extent the latter come from public life,
Are embassies indispensable? Contemporary often with a wide range of experiences, they
information and communication technology add real value, but not when the appointees are
permits countries to maintain contact with drawn from the ranks of presidential campaign
one another virtually, overcoming distance contributors.19 The situation is much less
and geography. Officials and delegations can favorable in a number of developing states,
visit foreign capitals as needed, without especially in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin
maintaining expensive permanent establish- America, where such appointments are seen
ments. We saw that some countries have as the head of governments prerogative, with
employed the method of non-resident little care for job competence. That degrades
ambassadors and laptop envoys in such the performance of embassies, and leads to
fashion. We can count on further innovation. demoralization in the professional cadre.
Will there be a shift towards greater One scholar has described the contempo-
professionalism? The US, which is unique rary work of embassy officials as gumboot
among major states in drawing up to 30% of its diplomacy.20 Another has spoken of the pro-
ambassadors from outside the diplomatic career fessional as a high-functioning, street-smart,
Embassies, Permanent Missions and Special Missions 159

renaissance humanist with well-developed 6 This increasingly includes non-state entities, such
instincts, a Blackberry, and where neces- as chambers of business, think tanks, and other
credible entities. Many foreign ministries do not
sary, a Kevlar vest (Copeland, 2009: 259).
have specific regulations covering embassies
Attired in tuxedos or cargo pants, as cir- sharing reports with domestic non-state actors,
cumstances mandate, countries will always but my experience at different embassy posts was
need representatives on the ground, to reach that, handled with discretion, this seldom posed
out to diverse foreign actors, to engage with a problem.
7 This has been the Indian experience; the Ministry
them and negotiate, and to furnish authentic
of External Affairs established its Development
ground information. Will they need to operate Partnership Administration (DPA) in 2012 for
out of lavish residences and project an aura of holistic oversight over an expanding aid program,
glamor? Perhaps not. But image is also part in which Indian embassies are the key implement-
of public diplomacy. It is likely that these ing agents.
8 The concept of the MFAembassy manpower
swans on the seemingly gilded lake will need
balance is based on empirical study. See Rana,
to pedal harder than ever beneath the surface. Bilateral Diplomacy (DiploFoundation, Malta and
Embassies will endure; if they did not exist, Geneva, 2002b), p. 121.
they would need to be invented. 9 In a growing number of countries, including India,
it is customary for ambassadors who come home
on consultations to meet with opposition leaders.
10 Non-resident envoys also look after high or
influential visitors from the assignment country,
NOTES which helps them build contacts. Combining this
method with a virtual embassy would render it
1 See LN Rangarajan, The Arthashastra (Penguin, even more effective, though this does not seem
New Delhi, 1992). Kautilya advised the envoy to to be the practice in Malta or Singapore.
uphold his kings honor, and to deliver the mes- 11 This was one of the notions advanced by the Sen
sage entrusted to him exactly as it was given to Committee in India in 1983; that report has not
him, even if he apprehended danger to his own been published, though its main findings were
life; the envoy was advised not to let honors go disclosed in JN Dixits book (2005).
to his head, avoid liquor, and sleep alone. 12 The 1975 Vienna Convention on the Representa-
2 For example, Article 3, setting out the functions tion of States in their Relations with International
of embassies, brought into the draft a vital con- Organizations of a Universal Character sets out
cept that was not in the original draft prepared privileges and immunities, but it has not been
by the International Law Commission: promot- widely accepted, much less incorporated into the
ing friendly relations between the sending State municipal law of most member-states.
and the receiving State, and developing their eco- 13 In 2000, Indias BJP government sought to appoint
nomic, cultural, and scientific relations (Article 3, an Indian Green Card holder living in the US as
1 (e)); this was proposed by Yugoslavia and the a special envoy for overseas Indians; the US State
Philippines. Department turned down his designation at the
3 Example: VCDR Article 3 1(d) reads: ascertaining Indian Embassy as special adviser in the rank of
by all lawful means conditions and developments ambassador, on the ground that this was not in
in the receiving State, and reporting thereon accord with VCDR. He was eventually given that
to the Government of the sending State. The designation and rank at the Indian Permanent
convoluted language is intended to ensure that Mission to the UN at New York. The appointment
receiving governments do not restrain embassies was terminated in 2004 when a Congress gov-
from gathering information for their reports to ernment came to power in New Delhi.
home governments; it also reflects the concern 14 Daily prayer meetings at large EU missions are held
of Soviet bloc countries of the time over activities in auditoria; the permanent representative often
of Western embassies in their countries. delegates this coordination task to their deputies.
4 Article 39 of VCDR says that embassies should 15 Former German ambassador Karl Theodore
conduct official business through the foreign Paschke set out some of these ideas in a statement
ministry. at a Wilton Park conference in January 2003.
5 This is based on research interviews with diplo- 16 Spain is one exception now, and sends a number
mats. See Rana, The 21st Century Ambassador, of political appointees as ambassadors. In most
2004, pp. 167. Western countries, at any point of time one

would not find more than one or two non-career Report of Session 201012, Vol.1, The
ambassadors. In Asia, such appointments are rela- Stationery Office Ltd, London, 2011.
tively few, compared with Africa or Latin America. Jett, Dennis C, American Ambassadors: The
Brazil has a law that mandates that ambassadors Past, Present, and Future of Americas
must belong to the diplomatic service. In Trinidad
Diplomats (Palgrave Macmillan, New York,
and Tobago, or Uganda, the majority are political
appointments, which demoralizes their profes-
sional diplomats. Langhorne, Richard, Who are the Diplomats
17 This observation is based on research and inter- Now? (HMSO, London, 1996).
views with diplomats from several countries. Locke, Mary and Yost, Casimir A (ed.), Who
18 I had pioneered this method at Algeria in 1977, Needs Embassies? How US Missions Abroad
and applied it at other missions I headed; in 1980 Help Shape Our World (Institute for the
it caught the MEAs attention and was thereaf- Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University,
ter applied to all Indian embassies (Rana, 2002b: Washington DC, 1997).
812); it now receives cursory attention, and Paschke, Karl Th, Report of the Special
many Indian embassies ignore this.
Inspection of 14 German Embassies in the
19 Bloomberg Business, 25 July 2013: Obama Ambas-
sadors gave $13.6 million in campaign money,
Countries of the European Union (German Federal Foreign Office, Berlin, September
07-25/obama-ambassadors-gave-at-least- 2000).
13-6-million-in-campaign-money. See also: BBC, Wolfe, Robert, Still Lying Abroad? On the
28 June 2013: Should campaign contributors Institution of the Resident Ambassador
become ambassadors? (Diplomatic Studies Program, Paper No. 33,
world-us-canada-22894459 University of Leicester, 1997).
20 This evocative metaphor comes from Professor
Dietrich Kappler, former President, DiploFoundation.

Copeland, Daryl, Guerrilla Diplomacy: Rethink-
American Foreign Service Association, Inside a ing International Relations (Lynne Reiner,
US Embassy, 2nd edition (AFSA, Washington Colorado, US, 2009).
DC, 1996). Dixit, JN, The Indian Foreign Service: History
Barder, Brian, What Diplomats Do: The Life and and Challenge (Konarak, New Delhi, 2005).
Work of Diplomats (Rowman & Littlefield, Rana, Kishan S, Bilateral Diplomacy, DiploFoun-
2014). dation, Malta and Geneva, 2002a).
Berridge, GR, The Resident Ambassador: A Rana, Kishan S, Inside Diplomacy, revised paper-
Death Postponed (Discussion Papers, No. 1, back edition (Manas, New Delhi, 2002b).
Diplomatic Studies Program, Centre for the Rana, Kishan S, The 21st Century Ambassador:
Study of Diplomacy, Leicester, September Plenipotentiary to Chief Executive (Diplo-
1994). Foundation, Malta, 2004; Oxford University
Berridge, GR, Diplomacy: Theory & Practice, Press, New Delhi, 2005).
4th edition (Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2010). Rana, Kishan S, The Contemporary Embassy:
Eban, Abba, The New Diplomacy (Weidenfeld Paths to Diplomatic Excellence (Palgrave-
& Nicolson, London, 1988). Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2013).
House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Committee, Rangarajan, LN, The Arthashastra (Penguin,
The Role of the FCO in Government, 7th New Delhi, 1992).
Consulates and Consular
Ana Mar Fernndez Pasarn

Consulates and consular diplomacy refer to approaching consular services as an instru-

different aspects of consular affairs. While ment of foreign policy, reflects this evolution.
the former puts the accent on the definition
and formal description of the consular insti-
tution, the latter focuses on the political
output of consular administrations. THE ORIGINS
This terminological differentiation reflects
a conceptual nuance that has been taking Consulates are an old institution in interna-
shape in consular literature over the years. tional society. Their origins lie in Europe,
Traditionally, the analysis of consulates has well before the emergence of the modern
been the domain of legal and historical stud- state and the creation of resident diplomatic
ies. Whereas international public law has paid services. The fertile ground for their emer-
particular attention to the codification of the gence was not a specific form of political
status, functions and privileges of consuls, organization but rather the flourishing of
historians have traced the origins and the economic activities between territories and
path of sedimentation of the consular institu- the demand for their securitization from the
tion across countries and throughout history. Middle Ages onward (Leira and Neumann,
Contemporary consular studies have incor- 2011).
porated the perspectives of political science Signs of the early consular system can be
and international relations studies, which are found in the figures of the prostatai and the
nowadays less oriented towards pure insti- proxenoi of the ancient Greek city-states. The
tutionalism and more towards public policy former were appointed by Greeks living abroad
analysis. The recent emergence of the con- to act as intermediaries between the colony and
cept of consular diplomacy, which involves local authorities in legal and political matters,

while the latter, who were chosen from among for adjudicating disputes among merchants
the nationals of the receiving state, are consid- and seamen of their nationality residing in
ered to be the ancestors of modern honorary foreign lands. As pointed out by Lee, these
consuls (Lee, 1991; Leira and Neumann, 2011; legal agreements conceding judicial privilege
Nez and Mart, 2009). They were appointed mainly to merchants and seamen of the send-
to look after the interests of the nationals of ing authority predate the modern diplomatic
the Greek sending polity, ensuring, in particu- doctrine and privilege of extraterritorial-
lar, their protection and the promotion of their ity, defined as the exemption from the local
merchandise. The Roman republic created a jurisdiction or the extension of jurisdiction
similar figure, the praetor peregrinus, to serve beyond the borders of the state (Lee, 1991).
as arbitrator in trade disputes between foreign- In addition, consuls were also gradually
ers and Roman citizens. At the time, the term invested with the general mission of safe-
consul, which is of Latin origin, was coined guarding commercial affairs and facilitating
to designate the two elected civil and trade, travel and residence in foreign lands.
military heads of the Republic. The title of Illustratively, from the eleventh century on,
consul survived during the Roman Empire, cities like Genoa, Pisa and Venice started
although consuls were no longer elected but to sign treaties with the Byzantine Empire
appointed by the emperor and their importance that gave them the right to appoint the first
greatly decreased (Leira and Neumann, 2011). European resident consuls in the Eastern
During the Middle Ages, the term con- Mediterranean (Berridge, 2007). In the late
sul came to mean diverse functions that Middle Ages, the practice of appointing con-
developed in the western Mediterranean. The suls in foreign lands also became frequent in
consuls of the sea and consuls of traders Western countries. As noted by Lee (1991),
were respectively on-board magistrates who in the fifteenth century there were Italian con-
accompanied ships and port merchants, who suls residing in England and the Netherlands,
were elected from among their peers and had while English consuls could be found in the
their own business in foreign havens. Both Netherlands and in the Nordic countries.
were invested with certain judicial com- The modern consular institution developed
petences aimed at solving disputes during with the gradual centralization of political
voyages on vessels and among merchants in power and the emergence of the European
foreign lands. modern state in the sixteenth century. The
As mentioned by Leira and Neumann, consolidation of absolute monarchies with
the different meanings gradually merged. mercantilist ambitions in the context of inter-
The distinction between consuls of traders national trade expansion involved increas-
and consuls of the sea became increasingly ing public control over the appointment of
blurred. In addition, the office of consul of consuls and the definition of their role. The
the sea lost most of its practical relevance regulation and professionalization of the con-
with the emergence of the consuls at sea sular office with the exception of honorary
as leaders and judicial chiefs of their mer- consuls under the aegis of state authority
chant compatriots in foreign lands (Leira and involved the attribution of new representative
Neumann, 2011: 234). and political functions. Consuls were con-
The rise of resident overseas consuls came firmed in their responsibility over their com-
in the wake of the crusades. Trade expansion patriots in foreign countries but they were
on the part of the Western seafaring powers in also tasked with the mission of fostering the
the Mediterranean entailed the signing of trea- general interest of the polity and of transmit-
ties with Eastern countries, which expanded ting, in particular, economic and political
consular networks, functions and privileges. information concerning the receiving pol-
Consuls were given exclusive competences ity. This phenomenon of diplomatization
Consulates and Consular Diplomacy 163

of consuls (Nez and Mart, 2009), their China started to accredit consuls one century
transformation into public officers in charge later with the opening of the first Chinese con-
of furthering the states general interests, con- sulate in Singapore in 1877 (Liping, 2011).
tributed to creating confusion over the limits The prominent role played by consuls as
between their competences and those in the international trade promoters and protec-
hands of diplomats. This was also due to tors started nevertheless to decline with the
the fact that both the diplomatic service and appointment of Economic attachs in the dip-
the consular service, although technically lomatic missions, who assumed the responsi-
differentiated (mostly in Western countries), bility for the promotion of foreign trade and the
were placed under the authority of the same consolidation of commercial actors operating
external administration of the state (see on a global scale. For states and major com-
Chapter 12 in this Handbook). By way of panies, commercial expansion soon became
example, the US Department of State, created too strategic to depend only on the diligence
in 1789, included both sections. There was, of consuls, and the image of consular services
however, a geographical difference between as marginal players and the poor cousin of
embassies and consulates. Whereas the former diplomacy became more familiar. The need
were located in capitals in order to maintain for new economic structures specifically in
relationships with the central government of charge of promoting commercial interests rel-
the receiving country, the latter were placed egated the consular institution to a secondary
in major ports and commercial cities with role. Illustratively, shortly after the adoption
the objective of promoting trade interests. of the Rogers Act of 1924, which involved the
Territorial decentralization was thus one of the merger of the US Consular and Diplomatic
characteristics of the deployment of consular Services into the US Foreign Service, the com-
posts. mercial duties of the consuls were reassigned
The significant development of permanent to the Foreign Commercial Service, which
diplomatic missions relegated the consular was created in 1927 (Hamilton, 2011).
institution to a position of secondary impor- The emergence of new consular tasks under
tance in the eighteenth century. However, the the pressure of globalization restored the role
expansion of commerce and industry in the of consuls at the beginning of the twenty-first
second half of the century allowed consuls century. Such phenomena as increasing flows
to preserve their former standing in the eco- of citizens living or traveling abroad, inter-
nomic domain. Consulates reached the apex of national terrorist threats and natural disasters
their development and recognition in the nine- have led to the prominent role played by con-
teenth century in the wake of the Industrial suls nowadays in visa diplomacy as well as
Revolution and the promotion of Western in the domain of protection and assistance.
trade in the Asiatic and American continents. Illustratively, the 50 Mexican consulates
The European example was soon followed operating in the United States issue about
by Russia and the United States, which also 825,000 passports and 900,000 identification
started to expand their consular networks cards per year (Hernndez Joseph, 2012).
throughout the world during the century. Contemporary consuls have lost their past
Tellingly, by the end of the eighteenth cen- prominence as commercial and jurisdictional
tury, there were 70 US and 34 Russian consu- agents but they have gained importance as
lar posts overseas (Hamilton, 2011; Zonova, interfaces for communication with diaspora
2011). In the case of Russia, it is worth men- and, more generally, as agents of securitiza-
tioning that the consular network expanded tion. This recent shift has been particularly
particularly in the Balkans, a region with size- noticeable in the field of border control and
able Orthodox communities, with 23 Russian the prevention and management of overseas
consulates by the mid nineteenth century. crisis situations.

Key Points of national consular regulations specifying the

status, rights and responsibilities of consuls in
Consulates are an old institution whose origins
the contemporary age (Sen, 1965).
must be located in pre-modern Europe.
As for international codification of the con-
Their emergence is related to the Western
seafaring powers economic expansion in the sular institution, this stems from the Vienna
Mediterranean from the Middle Ages onwards. Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.
The modern consular institution developed with This legal text, which was drafted under the
the centralization of political power in the six- umbrella of the United Nations and had been
teenth century. signed by 177 states by 2014, defines and
Contemporary consuls have gained importance harmonizes in five chapters and 79 articles
as agents of securitization in the fields of visa the principles ruling the establishment and
diplomacy and citizens protection and assistance conduct of consular affairs and, in particular,
the question of the connection between diplo-
matic and consular relations.
In Article 5, the Vienna Convention pro-
INTERNATIONAL LAW CODIFICATION vides its own list of consular functions. First
AND EVOLVING PRACTICE are those tasks relatively similar to those
carried out by resident diplomatic missions,
Consuls have enjoyed different statuses and among which consular protection, the promo-
privileges throughout history. They have also tion of commercial, economic and cultural
performed a wide range of functions that have relations and information functions stand out.
evolved according to the development of the Second is the function of consular assistance,
modern state. In legal terms, the consular which consists of assisting nationals of the
office has been regulated by domestic rules sending state during their stay or transit in the
and bilateral treaties for centuries. In this territory of the receiving state in cases of tem-
regard, the Code of Euric, drawn up in Spain porary difficulty, detention, or incarceration,
during the Visigothic period, the Book of the and of facilitating administrative procedures
Consulate of the Sea, a compilation of norms pertaining to repatriation in case of death or
and traditions regulating maritime trade that serious illness. The other main aspects of the
was also issued by the Crown of Aragon in consular function involve such duties as the
Barcelona in the fifteenth century, or the trea- exercise of notary and public register func-
ties of Capitulations that were signed between tions; the supervision of maritime and aerial
the Christian and the Muslim countries since navigation (inspection of vessels or aircraft
the same period, constitute some of the having the nationality of the sending state;
attempts to codify the early functions of the assistance and investigation in the event of
consular institution. Later on, the Industrial incidents); functions of international judicial
Revolution fostered the adoption of the first cooperation such as representing or arranging
bilateral treaties regulating aspects of the appropriate representation for fellow-nation-
specific status of consuls. France and Spain als before the tribunals of the receiving state
inaugurated this practice with the signing of and guaranteeing the preservation of their
the Convention of El Pardo in 1769. States rights; control of migration and travel flows
domestic regulations also developed: The through the issuance of passports to fellow-
French Ordinance of 1781, The Netherlands nationals and the issuance of visas to foreign
Consular Regulations of 1786, the United citizens wishing to travel to the sending state.
States Consular Service Acts of 1792 and Overall, in this contemporary light, the con-
1856, the first Russian Consular Charter of sular function can be defined as the capac-
1820 and the British Consular Advances Act ity of action attributed to the administration
of 1825 represent some of the first examples of the state in the areas mentioned in order
Consulates and Consular Diplomacy 165

to protect the interests of the individuals and such as massive evacuation of citizens in the
corporate bodies that form part of that state event of major crises caused by political situ-
when in a foreign country. ations or natural disasters, governments have
Consular affairs were marginalized dur- started to engage in mutual cooperation and
ing the twentieth century. Considered to be publicprivate partnerships as a means of
of low intensity in comparison with the high improving their effectiveness as providers of
politics of inter-state diplomacy, diplomacy consular services.
for people was for long somewhat disdained In many regions of the world, especially in
within foreign affairs ministries. Since the Europe and Latin America, consular affairs
beginning of the new millennium, how- have become an exercise of power-sharing and
ever, several phenomena have contributed to pooling of resources. While the classic consu-
reversing this tendency. Consular affairs have lar institution has not disappeared, what we do
gained a new political saliency thanks to a observe is an increasing tendency to resort to
series of overlapping processes. The globali- innovative formulae of collaboration, not only
zation of the economy and the transnation- between states but also between states and
alization of national communities, with the non-state actors in order to deal with the new
corresponding migration pressure, as well as developments arising in international society.
changes in the logics of security due to man- New modes of consular governance
made or natural phenomena such as the inter- include the development of new patterns of
national terrorist threat or large-scale natural intergovernmental consular cooperation,
disasters, have highlighted the strategic role enhanced inter-administrative coordination,
of consular posts overseas. These new vari- the delegation of representation to state and
ables characterizing todays society are the non-state actors and the deployment of IT
main reasons for the shift of consular ser- solutions to move consular administration
vices from the periphery in which they were closer to citizens, while extending, speeding
confined within the external administration of up and facilitating their access to information
the state towards the center of most foreign and consular procedures.
affairs ministries concerns. Interestingly, the
Consular Department of the Russian MFA is
today the largest department of the ministry Key Points
(Zonova, 2011: 187). Increasing pressure on
governments to anticipate and prevent risks Consuls have performed a wide range of func-
and to provide immediate assistance to their tions throughout history.
nationals when threats occur abroad have Until the Vienna Convention on Consular
Relations of 1963, these tasks had been regu-
renewed consideration for consular affairs
lated by domestic laws and bilateral treaties.
within a context of 24/7 exposure and moni- Under globalization pressure, consulates have
toring of political elites activity by the media. increasingly invested in the deployment of new
Global phenomena have underlined the key modes of governance such as enhanced inter-
role played by consular services in the event of governmental cooperation, publicprivate part-
major transnational crises. Notwithstanding, nerships, or the use of IT solutions in consular
similarly to the contemporary tendencies administrations.
observed in the general design and man-
agement of public policies, globalization
has also highlighted the limits of individual
action in dealing with transnational security CONSULAR COOPERATION
problems. Increasingly aware of the added
value of enhanced coordination and joint Nowadays, consular cooperation, especially
strategies to cope with common problems when developed locally or overseas, has

become a primary strategic instrument. and staying in its territory. In general, this
Different factors and events, especially the function has been regulated on the basis of
security challenges posed by the growingly bilateral treaties. For treaties of trade and
transnational nature of organized crime, navigation, friendship, and those establish-
increasing migrations flows, natural disas- ing specific consular conventions, states
ters, or the fight against international terror- have usually operated on the principle of
ism, have stimulated the rise of consular reciprocity of freedom of entry and exit for
cooperation as a policy tool of securitization. the respective nationals in the other states
The large-scale emergency situations territory (Lee, 1991). In this respect, the visa
that the consular services had to deal with regime has emerged as a low-intensity diplo-
on occasions such as the terrorist attacks in matic instrument: when granting or denying a
the USA of September 2001, the tsunami of visa to a foreign national, a state is indirectly
South-East Asia in 2004, or the Mumbai ter- taking a foreign policy stance with respect to
rorist attacks in 2008 underlined the strategic the state of origin of that citizen.
position of consular officers overseas at a time September 11th substantially elevated
when citizens increasingly travel overseas governments awareness of the importance
and when such phenomena as international of visa policy and, in particular, of local con-
terrorism, natural disasters,