The Limits of the New Public Diplomacy : Strategic communication and evaluation at the U.S. State Department, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, British Council, Swedish Foreign Ministry and Swedish Institute

Abstract: The new public diplomacy is a major paradigm shift in international political communication. Globalisation and a new media landscape challenge traditional foreign ministry ‘gatekeeper’ structures, and foreign ministries can no longer lay claim to being sole or dominant actors in communicating foreign policy. This demands new ways of communicating foreign policy to a range of nongovernmental international actors, and new ways of evaluating the influence of these communicative efforts. But where do the lines between old and new public diplomacies actually meet? How much current PD policy and practice conforms to older styles of communication, and how much can truly be considered new? What are the practical constraints upon the adoption of an entirely ‘new’ PD? This PhD thesis investigates the methods and strategies used by 5 foreign ministries and cultural institutes in 3 countries as they attempt to adapt their PD practices to the demands of the new public diplomacy environment. The question is not simply of how government actors have phased out their archaic old PD practices, but of how the continual need for short-term influence – for discernable impact, outcomes, value-for-money – complicates the paradigm shift. The case studies are based around an analysis of US, British, and Swedish strategies. Each chapter covers national policy, evaluation methods, and examples of individual campaigns. Material consists of 25 interviews with PD practitioners, detailed policy studies, reconstructions of 5 PD campaigns, and analysis of communication models and evaluation methodologies.

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