The Impact of New Media on Diplomatic Practice: An Evolutionary Model of Change

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Cristina Archetti University of Salford Crescent House, Salford, Manchester M5 4WT United Kingdom

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Based on a range of interviews with foreign diplomats in London, this article explains the considerable variation in the way that communication technologies both affect diplomatic practices and are appropriated by diplomats to pursue the respective countries’ information-gathering and public 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 a model of the ‘communication behaviour’ of foreign diplomats, 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 that is attempting to survive in a natural environment. The nuances highlighted by the explanatory model challenge the largely homogeneous and generalized nature of current debates about media and diplomacy, as well as public diplomacy.

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