The European Union and Image Resilience during Times of Crisis: The Role of Public Diplomacy

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Mai’a K. Davis Cross Department of Political Science, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Northeastern University Boston, ma 021115 United States

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Teresa La Porte Faculty of Communication, University of Navarra 31080 Pamplona, Navarra Spain

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A resilient actor is one with the capacity to recover from setbacks and obstacles, whether stemming from endogenous or exogenous factors. Beyond actual recovery, this article argues that there is also an important perceptional dimension. Image resilience is the capacity on the part of actors to overcome and deal with the widespread negative perceptions that often follow on the heels of these setbacks. The article argues that the ability to cultivate image resilience rests significantly on the power of public diplomacy. Through establishing a strong image for an actor over the longer term, public diplomacy enables that actor to be more resilient during times of crisis. The European Union is a particularly good case study to shed light on this. Using original interview evidence, this article examines a specific example of how the European Union was ultimately able to strengthen its image resilience in the United States through public diplomacy.

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