Latest Must-Reads in Public Diplomacy: March 2019

The March edition of CPD Faculty Fellow Bruce Gregory's public diplomacy reading list is now available. Known affectionately at CPD as "Bruce's List," this list is a compilation of books, journal articles, papers and blogs on a wide variety of PD topics and features a number of CPD scholars.

Highlights from this latest list include:

Jay Wang and Sohaela Amiri, “Building a Robust Capacity Framework for U.S. City Diplomacy, USC Center on Public Diplomacy,” February 2019. In this brief online paper, Wang and Amiri (University of Southern California) argue the ascending phenomenon of cities as subnational and “glocal” actors in diplomacy is not only evidence of new varieties of diplomatic practice, it also means “city diplomacy has now become essential for local communities to thrive in a globalized society.” Their paper profiles ideas developed at a workshop hosted in 2018 by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy with participants from 13 U.S. cities including Los Angeles and New York City. They organize their takeaways in three categories: key functions (trade, consular issues, climate issues, countering terrorism, hosting special events); challenges (fragmented organizations, lack of coherent identity, limited resources); and building future city diplomacy practices (policy-driven diplomacy, strengthened citizen support, better communication, networked concepts and practices, and better use of data).

Kwang-jin Choi, The Republic of Korea’s Public Diplomacy Strategy: History and Current Status, CPD Perspectives, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, January 2019. Choi (former Head, Center for People Diplomacy, ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs) provides a practitioner’s account of South Korea’s public diplomacy. His historical survey begins with episodic public diplomacy activities in the 19th century followed by an increasingly broad range of press and cultural activities in the decades after World War II and the Korean War. South Korea adopted the term public diplomacy in 2010. It reorganized activities in a Public Diplomacy and Cultural Affairs Bureau within its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and passed a Public Diplomacy Act. (Appendices contain the text of the Act and its Enforcement Decree.) Choi’s paper discusses South Korea’s definition of public diplomacy, organizational and planning issues, and public diplomacy strategy. 

Katherine A. Brown, Your Country, Our War: The Press and Diplomacy in Afghanistan, (Oxford University Press, 2019). In this excellent and engaging book, grounded in years of interviews with journalists and political actors in Afghanistan and the U.S., Katherine Brown (Global Ties U.S., Georgetown University) achieves several objectives. First, she examines narratives and framing of modern Afghanistan in the journalism of U.S. and Afghan news media. Her empirical findings are shaped by two strands in communications studies—(1) literature on indexing, agenda setting, framing, conflict reporting and related concepts; and (2) studies on national bias and ethnocentrism. Second, she devotes considerable attention to habits and emotional conflicts of Afghan journalists and the sociology of how journalism has developed in Afghanistan since its news media became independent in 2001. Her analysis of journalism in each nation is set in the context of how their news media function in relation to national priorities and international politics, the strategies of U.S. national security actors, and circumstances shaped by violence, politics and social change in Afghanistan. In the concluding chapter, Brown turns to what she calls “the diplomatic dimension in news.” She argues that journalists, who usually maintain distance from political agendas at home, do not disengage from their national identities abroad. Nationalism, emotional attachments and domestic reporting priorities lead journalists to “play the role of representatives, or de facto diplomats, for their nations.” “Journalists are actors in international diplomacy, mediating communications between governments and publics, and between governments and governments.” It is a complex argument worthy of reflection, debate, and another book.

Diana Ingenhoff, Candace White, Alexander Buhmann, and Spiro Kiousis, eds., Bridging Bridging Disciplinary Perspectives of Country Image, Reputation, Brand, and Identity, (Routledge, 2019). Ingenhoff (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), White (University of Tennessee), Buhmann (BI Norwegian Business School) and Kiousis (University of Florida) divide the 16 essays in this handbook on perceptions of countries and their effects into four categories: business studies, social psychology, sociology and political science, and communication studies. Their interdisciplinary and multi-national approach connects conceptual constructs of country identity, branding, reputation and image with applied knowledge for practitioners in such fields as public diplomacy, international marketing and corporate advocacy. Issues include the strengths and limitations of country brand indexes, country reputation and global sport, “global rage” in the Brexit and Trump era, mediated public diplomacy theory building, recent research on relational and nation branding approaches in public diplomacy, and social media platforms for the study and practice of brand communities. Essays of particular interest to diplomacy and communications scholars and practitioners include:

  • Henrik Merkelson (Lund University, Sweden) and Rasmus Kjærgaard Rasmussen (Roskilde University, Denmark), “Evaluation of Nation Brand Indexes.”

  • Tobias Werron (Bielefeld University, Germany), “The Global Construction of National Reputation.”

  • Frank Louis Rusciano (Rider University, New Jersey), “World Opinion, Country Identity, and Country Images.”

  • Tianduo Zhang (University of Florida) and Guy J. Golan (University of South Florida), “Mediated Public Diplomacy as a Function of Government Strategic Issue Management.”

  • Di Wu (American University) and Jian Wang (University of Southern California), “Country Image in Public Diplomacy: From Messages to Relationships.”

  • Wayne Wanta (University of Florida), “Media Influences on the Public’s Perceptions of Countries: Agenda-Setting and International News.”

  • Efe Sevin (Reinhardt University, Georgia, USA), “Talking at Audiences: Networking and Networks in Country Images.”

  • Diana Ingenhoff, Tianduo Zhang, Alexander Buhmann, Candace White, and Spiro Kiousis, “Analyzing Value Drivers and Effects of 4D-Country Images on Stakeholders’ Behavior Across Three Different Cultures.”

The full list, including more pieces by CPD Faculty Fellows Vivian S. Walker, Philip SeibCorneliu Bjola and Pamela Starr, CPD Blog Contributors Ilan Manor, Jeffrey Phillips, Shaun Riordan, Halid Bulut, Darius Wainwright and Derek Moscato, is available here.

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