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Costas M. Constantinou

Debord’s pioneering work, it can be argued that the spectacle has become the dominant form of representation in modern society, supplanting the actuality of social experience and serving as a paradigm of power. Power is not just exercised through the words of force and the force of words. It is also

Paul Sharp, Jan Melissen, Constance Duncombe and Marcus Holmes

more problematic by President Trump’s use of social media and the importance he assigns to the spectacle of highly mediated diplomatic situations. The second, however, is the set of problems presented by the involvement of more actors, as various colleagues noted, and newly influential old ones, such

Iver B. Neumann

has been with us since the dawn of complex polities, 14 one might expect the question of presentable performances to have been thoroughly studied by students of politics and diplomacy. If spectacle, pomp and ritual are central to politics and diplomacy, then we must ask how they came to be occluded

Marco Pinfari

: Relations with Developing Countries . London : Routledge . Nanabhay , M. , and R. Farmanfarmaian ( 2011 ). “From Spectacle to Spectacular: How Physical Space, Social Media and Mainstream Broadcast Amplified the Public Sphere in Egypt’s “Revolution.” The Journal of North African Studies

Lynn M. Wagner

spectacle’? Working Paper No. 34,” from Sustainability Research Institute Working Papers Leeds, UK Available at: . Vavilov A. 2012 Interview by L. Wagner. 29 May 2012. Wagner L

Ilan Manor and Rhys Crilley

: Twitter as a Tool for Engaging in Public Diplomacy and Promoting US Foreign Policy .’ Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 15 ( 2 ) ( 2019 ), 78 - 96 . Constantinou , Costas M. ‘ Visual Diplomacy: Reflections on Diplomatic Spectacle and Cinematic Thinking ’. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 13

Costas M. Constantinou, Noé Cornago and Fiona McConnell

: Diplomacy and Its Forms of Knowledge’ International Studies Review 2013 15 2 141 162 Constantinou C. M. Dittmer J. McConnell F. ‘Everyday diplomacy: mission, spectacle and the remaking of diplomatic culture’ Diplomatic Cultures and International Politics: Translations, Spaces

Symbolic Insult in Diplomacy

A Subtle Game of Diplomatic Slap

Alisher Faizullaev


This paper approaches symbolic insult in diplomacy as the use of symbolic means by states to oppress the opponent’s sense of Self, to hurt its self-esteem and social status in order to achieve their foreign policy objectives, or as a reaction to a threat from Other. The paper posits that diplomatic actors are extremely sensitive to Self related matters, and may use such sensitivity for influencing each other, bargaining over the issues of importance, and simply defending their sense of Self while they confront the opponent. The enormous importance of collective Self in diplomacy may instigate a variety of social strategic games, including tacit and deceptive ones. The diplomatic actor’s acute sensitivity to recognition, honor and social status sharpens its sense of Self, which makes any humiliation painful. Therefore, protection of self-regard, dignity and public face becomes a critical issue in diplomatic practice. At the same time, that makes the diplomatic actor’s Self vulnerable, and provides the opposing Other opportunities for manipulation and symbolic abuse.

The paper argues that symbolic insult in diplomacy occurs in a highly normative environment, and depends on political objectives, shared knowledge, social perception and practices, and can negatively affect relationships between diplomatic actors, the opponent’s self-perception, self-feeling and security of Self—ontological security. I distinguish three forms of symbolic insult used in diplomacy: by misrecognition (“diplomatic bypassing”), direct confrontation (“diplomatic punch”) and concealed verbal or nonverbal actions (“diplomatic slap”). The paper focuses on the third, indirect form, or “diplomatic slap” which employs obscure symbolic insults as a means of tacit manipulation for influencing the opponent, or as an instrument of restoring social status.

By highlighting interest-based (political), value-based (moral), relationship-based (social) and right-based (legal) imperatives of international diplomacy, this paper shows that diplomatic actors can use symbolically expressed but subtle “slap” for balancing their interests and relationships in dealing with the opponent: Tacit or implicit symbolic insult usually appears ambiguous which may allow the offender to promote its interests but also to stay engaged with the victim.

Did We Ever Really Understand How the eu Works?

The Brexit Negotiations and What They Say about Britain’s Misunderstanding of the eu

N. Piers Ludlow

. What this means for the eventual outcome of the negotiations will be clearer once this piece appears than it is at the time of writing (November 2018). One lesson, however, is already wholly apparent. The uk has been “in Europe” for over four decades, but as the whole depressing spectacle of the