Unpacking Joint Attributions of Cities and Nation States as Actors in Global Affairs

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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  • 1 Associate Professor, BI Norwegian Business School6281, Oslo, Norway
  • | 2 Director, Nordic Alliance for Communication & Management
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Public diplomacy efforts of nation states and cities within these states inevitably develop alongside another, giving rise to joint attributions regarding these entities as actors in global affairs, though also potentially intensifying perceptions of their independent and even contradictory roles in international diplomacy. Variations in attributions of cities and states as more or less conjoint actors can be expected to affect both the visibility of key actors and the formation of attitudes and behaviours towards these actors in international affairs. In this essay I explore how and in what dimensions such variations can be expected to occur, applying recent thinking on the constitution of social actors to this emerging debate in public and city diplomacy scholarship and proposing a conceptual framework that distinguishes joint ‘selfhood’ and ‘actorhood’ as key dimensions of joint city/state attributions. The essay includes a discussion of the implications of this conceptualisation for public and city diplomacy.

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