Public diplomacy

Date of this Version


Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Citation only

Byrne, C. (2016). Public diplomacy. In Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield & Tim Dunne (Eds.), Foreign Policy: Theories, Actors, Cases (3rd ed.). (pp. 168-185). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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© Oxford University Press 2016




Extract: Reader's guide:

Public diplomacy-simply described as diplomatic engagement with people-has been revived over the past decade. Most nations-large or small, liberal or authoritarian—understand that image and reputation are sources of power in today's globalized world. Governments realize that to generate and exert this power they must not only consider, but also influence and mobilize public opinion. This means engaging public audiences-including civil society representatives, opinion leaders, journalists, scholars, students, and ordinary citizens-both at home and abroad in the conduct of foreign policy. This chapter introduces public diplomacy as an essential foreign policy instrument for the contemporary world. It begins by looking at public diplomacy's origins and modern evolution, driven in particular by the American experience. It then explores public diplomacy's theoretical foundations, paying particular attention to its soft power underpinnings and constructivist tendencies. Finally, it turns to public diplomacy in action, highlighting key approaches and instruments to illustrate the broad diversity of public diplomacy's project. To conclude, the chapter draws attention to the inescapable role of new media technologies in extending the reach of public diplomacy and drawing foreign policy more than ever into the public domain.

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