Diplomatic Culture

  • Yolanda Kemp Spies


In this chapter, Spies discusses diplomatic culture, a supra-culture that transcends humanity’s mosaic of cultures. She explains how it embraces the core principles of diplomacy—representation, intermediation, reciprocity, authority and continuous communication—to encapsulate a unique code of conduct within international society. In addition, diplomats from across the globe share a distinct, nomadic lifestyle associated with foreign service. Nevertheless, as the chapter makes clear, the many different political, regional, linguistic, religious and other cultures that diplomats represent create relativism in diplomatic culture. In the light of these peculiarities, can diplomats be ‘made’ according to a generic profile? The final part of the chapter discusses the increasingly specialised phenomenon of diplomatic training, which inducts individuals into the broader, universal culture of diplomacy.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yolanda Kemp Spies
    • 1
  1. 1.University of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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