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Communication and Diplomacy: Change and Continuity

  • Brian Hocking
Chapter
Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series (SPIRP)

Abstract

Communication underpins diplomatic processes and the structures through which they are managed. But the character of communication in the twenty-first century is becoming increasingly multifaceted as policy actors (both state and non-state) seek to develop new strategies—and refine established ones to project influence in an environment marked by the fragmentation of the modalities of “sharp,” “soft,” and “smart” power. At the same time, the rise of populism, “fake news,” and disinformation strategies challenges some of the fundamental assumptions underpinning the practice of diplomacy. As “public diplomacy” adapts to these developments, “digital diplomacy” can be seen as one facet of broader developments in the global policy environment conditioning the role of diplomacy and its forms. Appreciating the implications of digital technologies in this area requires us to understand the meanings embracing the term digital diplomacy. The following discussion seeks to identify how these are influencing both diplomatic processes and the structures through which they are conducted. Here, it is argued that the realities underpinning the impact of digital technologies involve a mix of “online” and “offline” processes. Blending the two and deciding when and where digital resources are appropriate is one of the major challenges confronting practitioners of diplomacy in the twenty-first century.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Hocking
    • 1
  1. 1.Loughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

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