Consuls for hire: Private actors, public diplomacy
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In a world increasingly conditioned by the speed and efficiency of information and communication technologies, the need for nation-state governments to communicate directly to foreign publics has increased significantly. Public diplomacy has had to become more fully integrated with, and more central to, governments’ overall approaches to diplomatic representation and communication. Effective public diplomacy has also become crucial for diplomatic actors such as governments of regions and of not widely recognised nation-states, which seek to assert their identity through gaining recognition by the global public as well as by established governments. All have had to learn from the political communications strategies of large global firms, which have become skilled in communicating to global public audiences over the past three decades. Governments and other diplomatic actors aspiring to recognition have turned increasingly to private firms specialising in political communication and representation to conduct diplomacy on their behalf. Many such firms entered this business by ‘going global’ after building up expertise in domestic political representation and communication and in lobbying. This paper explores and evaluates a topography of how governments have interacted with private actors to construct diplomatic strategies of representation and image management.
Keywordspublic relations communications George W. Bush administration lobbying consulting transparency
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