Sub-State Diplomacies: Regions, Parliaments, and Local Authorities
The diplomatic activity is less and less thought of as the “exclusive domain” of the executive, represented by heads of state or government. For several decades, central governments have gradually lost their monopoly on external activity and must deal with a growing number of new actors occupying the international stage, among which sub-state territorial entities such as regions, local parliaments, towns, and municipalities. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as sub-state diplomacy, “paradiplomacy,” “protodiplomacy,” or even “multilevel” diplomacy. This chapter deals first with this profusion of names, proceeding with some conceptual clarification in order to analyze the specificities of sub-state diplomacy by situating them within their historical trajectory. Then, we highlight the particularities of diplomatic practices for the three main kinds of sub-state actors: regions, parliaments, and local authorities. The chapter demonstrates that sub-state diplomacy is characterized above all by its diversity, but finds consistency and unity in the idea of challenging state monopoly on international politics.
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