Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The EU in Southeast Asian Public Opinion: Public Diplomacy Case

Natalia ChabanLai Suet-yi Karima Abidat,

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Globalization and changing global architecture (i.e. the emergence of new players, new ‘soft’ roles for traditional ‘hard’ powers, and the ever-increasing popularity of a ‘soft’ power (Elgström, 2010: online)) are giving international relations and diplomacy worldwide a more intense focus on public diplomacy (PD). Successful PD, defined as ‘an international actor’s attempt to advance the ends of policy by engaging with foreign publics’ (Cowan and Cull, 2008, p. 6), masters five elements in its practice: listening, advocacy, cultural diplomacy, exchange and international broadcasting (Cull, 2008, pp. 31–32). One particular element of this taxonomy - listening - is given a priority over the other four. Identified as an ‘actors’ attempt to manage the international environment by collecting and collating data about public and their opinions overseas and using that data to redirect its policy or its wider public diplomacy approach accordingly’ (Ibid., p. 32), it is an integral part of the other four PD practices. Yet, despite its importance, systematic listening to international publics is typically overlooked by the makers of foreign policy.

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