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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article aims to help both students and practitioners think about public diplomacy’s characteristics and modernization more clearly. It first outlines criticisms levelled against public diplomacy, as well as some conceptual implications of such criticisms. The article then reviews some of the different states’ practices, and points out that the juxtaposition of traditional approaches and the ‘new public diplomacy’ stifles thinking on its evolution. It examines the public diplomacy of different types of actor and how their perspective has a bearing on their working relationship with states, so as to point in directions where governments may be able to enhance their public diplomacy potential. The article suggests that public diplomacy flourishes in a ‘polylateral’ world of multiple actors in which the state remains highly relevant in increasingly diverse international networks.

Keywords: public diplomacy, diplomatic practices, polylateral world, states, international networks

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