Diplomacy makes extensive use of symbols, rituals and ceremonies. This practice is related to the nature of the state and diplomatic representation: (a) states and their intentions can be objectified through symbols, symbolic actions and interactions; and (b) diplomatic agencies and agents symbolically represent the state. Symbolism in diplomacy helps people to capture the meaning of international affairs and socially and individually to experience states and inter-state relations. Symbols, rituals and ceremonies in diplomacy are designed to create a shared sense and also to motivate and regulate the moods of groups and individuals who directly or indirectly participate in or observe diplomatic practice. Linguistics, imagery and ritualistic/ceremonial formats of symbolism exist in diplomatic practice. Each can have communicative, regulative and affective functions. Symbolism is meaningful and instrumental in making sense of states and international politics and in managing and regulating inter-state relations. However, diplomatic symbolism can also be used formally and manipulatively.
Manuel Roig-Franzia, ‘Havana’s 148 Flags Prove Mightier than the Billboard’, Washington Post, May 13, 2006, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/12/AR2006051201879.html.
US Department of State, ‘Using Social Media’, Foreign Affairs Manual, Volume 5: Information Management(Washington, DC: US Department of State, 10 June 2010), available online at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/144186.pdf.
Raymond Cohen, Theatre of Power: The Art of Diplomatic Signalling (London/New York: Longman, 1987); Jönsson and Hall, Essence of Diplomacy; Christer Jönsson and Karin Aggestam, ‘Trends in Diplomatic Signalling’, in Jan Melissen (ed.), Innovation in Diplomatic Practice (Houndmills: Palgrave, 1999), pp. 151–170; and Kishan S. Rana, ‘Diplomatic Signalling’, in Bilateral Diplomacy (Geneva/Malta: DiploFoundation, 2007), pp. 213–225.
Alexander Wendt, ‘The State as Person in International Theory’, Review of International Studies, vol. 30, no. 2, 2004, pp. 289–316; and Alisher Faizullaev, ‘Individual Experiencing of States’, Review of International Studies, vol. 33, no. 3, 2007, pp. 531–554.
Orrin Edgar Klapp, Collective Search for Identity (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969); Raymond Firth, Symbols: Public and Private (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1975); Bernhard Leistle, ‘Ritual as Sensory Communication: A Theoretical and Analytical Perspective’, in Klaus-Peter Köpping, Bernhard Leistle and Michael Rudolph (eds), Ritual and Identity: Performative Practices as Effective Transformation of Social Reality (Berlin: LIT Verlag Berlin, 2006); Schirch, Ritual and Symbol in Peacebuilding; Kertzer, Ritual, Politics, and Power; Ioan M. Lewis, ‘Introduction’, in Ioan M. Lewis (ed.), Symbols and Sentiments (London: Academic, 1977), pp. 1–24; and James Fernandez, ‘Persuasions and Performances: Of the Beast in Every Body . . . And the Metaphors of Everyman’, in Clifford Geertz (ed.), Myth, Symbol and Culture (New York: Norton, 1971), pp. 39–60.