Diplomatic Sites: A Critical Enquiry (Crises in World Politics)

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9780199327966: Diplomatic Sites: A Critical Enquiry (Crises in World Politics)
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Although diplomacy increasingly takes place in non-traditional settings that are increasingly non-Western, our debates about diplomacy still focus on traditional points of contact such as the conference table, the ministerial office and the press conference. This book is framed as a discussion on whether increasing globalisation and the rise of powers such as China, India and Brazil will precipitate a crisis in diplomacy; it also tackles the problem of diplomatic Eurocentrism head on. The author, who has broad working experience of diplomacy, reflects on sites that range from the dining table--a quotidian and elementary meeting place where all kinds of business is settled amid a variety of culturally specific but little-known practices--via the civil-war interstices where diplomats from third parties try to facilitate and mediate conflict, to grand diplomatic extravaganzas, the object of which is to overwhelm the other party. In a media age, popular understanding of diplomacy is a force to be reckoned with, hence the book discusses how diplomacy is represented in an almost wholly overlooked space, namely that of popular culture. The author concludes that, far from being in crisis, diplomatic activity is increasingly in evidence in a variety of sites. Rather than being a dying art, in today's globalized world it positively thrives.

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About the Author:


Iver B. Neumann is professor and Director of Research at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). Between 1980 and 2005, he worked in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in four different capacities, for a total of six years. His latest books are At Home with the Diplomats and (with Ole Jacob Sending), Governing the Global Polity.

Review:


'Iver Neumann presents a bold new approach: the study of diplomacy as anthropology. The subject is ideally suited to such a method, and it is a surprise it has not been attempted before. In [a] stimulating, wide-ranging and, occasionally, engagingly eccentric work... he has interpreted his rich experience as fieldwork and analysed it in this light. Such a perspective retrieves the subjectivity of international relations as a human activity, but far more rigorously than a mere harvesting of anecdotes. By reflecting on lives, ways and stories, it explores structures of identity, meaning and practice in this shared social world.' -- International Affairs


'... an intriguing book that sets out to look afresh at the art of diplomacy in an increasingly globalised modern world, and draws extensively on [the author's] practical experience and research.' -- Asian Affairs


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