Addressing the ‘Dressing Down’: Introducing Summonses as Source Material in North-East Asia

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy

Summary

As a ‘banal’ everyday practice of state conduct, diplomatic summonses — colloquially known as a ‘dressing down’ — are a rich yet untapped source for research. To that end, this article’s objectives are to: 1) introduce this practice of reprimand between states, along with a sample dataset of summonses in North-East Asia from 2000 to 2016; and 2) then extract valuable contributions that summonses could make to a variety of ongoing discourses. Specifically, the article highlights a summons’ ability to reveal the foreign policy priorities of a state, as well as emphasise the need to think about dyadic relations as a set of two separate relations that might not exhibit the kind of reciprocity or symmetry that scholars have come to associate with inter-state relations. Along the way, the article also suggests ramifications for the ongoing literature on ‘emotions’, given the nature of summonses and its aspect of ‘insult’ or ‘shaming’.

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