What Difference Do Communication Technologies Make to Diplomatic Practice? An Evolutionary Model of Change Based on the Experience of London Foreign Diplomats
30 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 23 Dec 2010
Date Written: 2010
Based on a range of interviews with foreign diplomats in London, the paper explains the considerable variation in the way communication technologies both affect diplomatic practices and are appropriated by diplomats to pursue the respective countries’ information gathering and outreach objectives. The study shows that London, as an information environment, is experienced differently by each of the diplomats and embassy actors. The analysis elaborates an explanatory model of the “communication behaviour” of foreign diplomats in London based on an evolutionary analogy: foreign diplomats in the context of the British capital, within their respective embassy organizations, can each be compared to the members of a species attempting to survive in a natural environment. The nuances highlighted by the model challenge the largely homogeneous and generalized nature of current debates about media and diplomacy, as well as public diplomacy.
Keywords: diplomacy, media, communication technology, public diplomacy, change, agency, structures, information environment
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