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Rhetorical Traditions of Public Diplomacy and the Internet

Rhetorical Traditions of Public Diplomacy and the Internet Summary Many calls have been made since 2001 for a ‘new public diplomacy’ of the information age that utilizes the internet to reach public opinion. They have been especially forthcoming from the Obama administration, although they have been just as popular with the political classes in the United States and elsewhere. However, such recent calls form only the latest instalment of a rhetorical tradition of public diplomacy that stretches back to Woodrow Wilson and beyond to the 1790s. There is a thematic recurrence in the rhetoric of public diplomacy, as there is in the rhetoric of democracy, and for the same reason: representative democracy has always involved a complex tension between, on the one hand, the political class of politicians and diplomats and, on the other, public opinion, which needs to be appeased since it confers legitimacy on representatives. This results in a recurring pattern of language involving suspicions of the political class, declarations of a new era of diplomacy and claims to credibility. There are hence frequent bouts of anti-politics politics and anti-diplomacy politics, sometimes utilizing a discourse of technological optimism, which politicians and diplomats attempt to assuage with similar calls for new political dawns. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Hague Journal of Diplomacy Brill

Rhetorical Traditions of Public Diplomacy and the Internet

The Hague Journal of Diplomacy , Volume 9 (1): 76 – Jan 1, 2014

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1871-1901
eISSN
1871-191X
DOI
10.1163/1871191X-12341266
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Summary Many calls have been made since 2001 for a ‘new public diplomacy’ of the information age that utilizes the internet to reach public opinion. They have been especially forthcoming from the Obama administration, although they have been just as popular with the political classes in the United States and elsewhere. However, such recent calls form only the latest instalment of a rhetorical tradition of public diplomacy that stretches back to Woodrow Wilson and beyond to the 1790s. There is a thematic recurrence in the rhetoric of public diplomacy, as there is in the rhetoric of democracy, and for the same reason: representative democracy has always involved a complex tension between, on the one hand, the political class of politicians and diplomats and, on the other, public opinion, which needs to be appeased since it confers legitimacy on representatives. This results in a recurring pattern of language involving suspicions of the political class, declarations of a new era of diplomacy and claims to credibility. There are hence frequent bouts of anti-politics politics and anti-diplomacy politics, sometimes utilizing a discourse of technological optimism, which politicians and diplomats attempt to assuage with similar calls for new political dawns.

Journal

The Hague Journal of DiplomacyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2014

Keywords: public diplomacy; rhetoric; the internet; democracy; populism; anti-diplomacy

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