Monday, June 12, 2017

Found on the Web: Bruce Gregory, "Public Diplomacy: Sunrise of an Academic Field" [no date]

image (not from article) from


Public diplomacy is a political instrument with analytical boundaries and distinguishing characteristics, but is it an academic field? It is used by states, associations of states, and nonstate actors to understand cultures, attitudes, and behavior; build and manage relationships; and influence opinions and actions to advance interests and values. This article examines scholarship with relevance, usually unintended, to the study of public diplomacy and a body of analytical and policy-related literature derived from the practice of public diplomacy. Ideas, wars, globalism, technologies, political pressures, and professional norms shaped the conduct of public diplomacy and the literature of scholars and practitioners during the hot and cold wars of the twentieth century. In the twenty-first century, thick globalism, network structures, and new technologies are transforming scholarship, governance and state-based public diplomacy. An achievable consensus on an analytical framework and a substantial scholarly and practical literature hold promise for an emerging academic field.


It is possible and desirable to treat public diplomacy as an emerging academic field based on three considerations: an achievable consensus on an analytical framework; a substantial body of relevant scholarship and practical literature; and benefits for learning, shared knowledge, and professional practice. Going forward, questions abound. Is it possible to create a field that is multidisciplinary and relevant to the public sphere while maintaining the academic standards of the separate disciplines on which it is based? Will mutually advantageous collaboration occur among departmental and university rivals competing for faculty and students? Will scholars engage in research, develop case
studies, and build courses in ways that advance learning and address the needs of practitioners? Will practitioners provide data useful to scholars and take advantage of relevant scholarship? In a field linked to highly contentious political issues, will scholars and practitioners use their knowledge to enrich learning and public debate? If we achieve positive answers to these and other questions, the rewards can be significant for the academic study and practice of public diplomacy.

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