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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the potent yet ambiguous possibilities of sport as it relates to diplomacy. It surveys the range of actors that have engaged in sport diplomacy, and how these have changed – and broadened – in the incomplete transition from ‘club’ to ‘network’ diplomacy. In particular, the article highlights the distinctive and often highly influential role of international sports organizations, along with state governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations and ‘movements’, multinational corporations and, in some contexts, urban and regional governments. Throughout the history of modern sport diplomacy, a key theme has been the prevalence of sport as a vehicle for public diplomacy – though the objectives of this public diplomacy have evolved substantially in the post-Cold War era of globalization. The article analyses these trends and transitions.

Keywords: sports, network diplomacy, diplomatic practice, international sports organizations, public diplomacy

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