Latest Must-Reads in Public Diplomacy: August 2018

The August edition of CPD Faculty Fellow Bruce Gregory's public diplomacy reading list is now available. Known affectionately at CPD as "Bruce's List," this list is a compilation of books, journal articles, papers and blogs on a wide variety of PD topics and features a number of CPD scholars.

Highlights from this latest list include:

"Border Diplomacy," Public Diplomacy Magazine, Issue 19, Summer/Fall 2018, Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars, University of Southern California. In this timely edition, Public Diplomacy Magazine compiles articles and interviews on varieties of ways borders divide and connect in diplomacy. Topics include a critique of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, a program created to help refugees and immigration families, German exchanges with US cities, migration stories in America and Europe, issues in trade and diplomacy, the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum and possibilities for a virtual state, and Iceland’s place branding initiatives. The Magazine is a student-run publication, which has published articles by students, faculty, and practitioners with support from USC faculty and an international advisory board since 2009.

Candace L. White and Kathy R. Fitzpatrick, “Corporate Perspectives on the Role of Global Public Relations in Public Diplomacy,” Journal of Public Relations, Vol. 11, Issue 4, May 2018. White (University of Tennessee) and Fitzpatrick (American University) examine the role of multinational corporations as non-state actors in public diplomacy. Their well-organized paper includes a literature review, an explanation of their research method (the RAND Corporation’s Delphi panel technique), a statement of research questions, discussion of findings and implications, an assessment of the limitations of their research based on a small sample size, and suggestions for further study. Among their findings are the following. Corporate leaders believe positive diplomatic relations between the US and countries where they do business are good for business. Corporate social responsibility activities by US companies have a “halo effect” on national image. Foreign images of the US have some effect on corporate images. Corporate executives feel no obligation to engage in US public diplomacy. They see some potential for strategic partnerships that involve sharing corporate expertise with public diplomats, if government seeks their participation. 

James Pamment and Karen Gwinn Wilkins, eds., Communicating National Image Through Development and Diplomacy, The Politics of Foreign Aid, (Palgrave, 2018). Pamment (Lund University, Sweden) and Wilkins (University of Texas at Austin) have compiled essays that bridge research and practice in the fields of development communication and public diplomacy, with considerable attention also to nation branding, soft power, and globalization. Readers will find much on offer in this volume’s interdisciplinary approach. Thoughtful foundational essays by the editors provide insights into concepts and literature in current scholarship as well as their own integrative frameworks. Their approach emphasizes the importance of understanding development and diplomacy as practiced by organizations pursuing political agendas—thereby reinforcing the growing value of practice theory. These ideas and methods are developed in case studies by accomplished scholars from a broad cross-section of universities: Kosovo (Nadia Kaneva, University of Denver); Colombia (Olga Lucía Sorzano, University of London, and Toby Miller, University of California, Riverside); South Korea (Kyung Sun Lee, University of Texas, Austin); Sweden (Andreas Åkerlund, Södertörn University, Stockholm), Turkey (Senem B. Çevik, University of California, Irvine; Efe Sevin, Reinhardt University; and Banu Baybars-Hawks, Kadir Has University); Mexico (Rebecka Villanueva Ulfgard, Instituto Mora, Mexico City); United States and China in Afghanistan (Diane Wu, American University); and China (Larisa Smirnova, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow).

R. S. Zaharna, “Global Engagement: Culture and Insights from Public Diplomacy,” Chapter 21, pp. 313-330, in Kim A. Johnston and Maureen Taylor, eds., The Handbook of Communication Engagement, (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018). In this chapter, Zaharna (American University), a pioneer in “the relational turn” in public diplomacy studies, takes a deep theoretical dive into concepts of engagement and their different manifestations in public diplomacy. Her thesis: “in order to ‘engage’ publics globally, one needs an expansive vision of ‘engagement’ that spans multiple understandings of what makes engagement meaningful to different publics around the world.” She begins with a brief account of the evolution of engagement in US public diplomacy’s study and practice, followed by a review of limitations in traditional intercultural communication models. Then, with a discussion of differing relational premises in communication and engagement, she sets the stage for an examination of how they shape three logics of engagement using their relational premise, characteristics, and a case example. (1) Individual logic: attributes and agency of a “communicator,” messages, media, audience, goal orientation, and measurability, exemplified in Sweden’s digital diplomacy. (2) Relational associative logic: paired contact points, physical co-presence, nonverbal behavior, emotion perspective taking, and symbolism, exemplified by Cuba’s medical diplomacy in the 2014 Ebola crisis. (3) Holistic integrative logic: an expansive view of relations, interpenetrating, interconnectedness, diversity, synchrony and synergy, exemplified in China’s cultural diplomacy.

The full list is available here.

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