The Impact of ‘Intermestic’ Non-State Actors on the Conceptual Framework of Public Diplomacy

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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  • 1 Faculty of Communication, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain

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Summary

The concept of public diplomacy has traditionally been understood in state-centric terms and has been closely related to a state’s foreign policy. Despite conceptual evolution towards more dialogue and networking with different players, some authors continue to envisage public diplomacy as a state pursuit. The impact of globalization on politics, however, has provoked the emergence of an array of non-state organizations that have progressively increased their influence, power, legitimacy and credibility in the global arena. They may act complementary to or independent from states, and sometimes even challenge the role of the state. This article proposes an alternative approach to the concept of public diplomacy that can include non-state actors’ independent actions. The article explores three main conditions for non-state organizations that could contribute to broadening the conceptual framework of public diplomacy: emphasis on the object of the action; legitimacy to develop public diplomacy initiatives based on effectiveness; and a progressive disappearance of borders between the domestic and international dimensions (as so-called ‘intermestic’ actors attempt to do). These preconditions are examined in the following two scenarios: defending citizens’ interests before international institutions; and explaining and implementing international institutions’ policies locally.

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