DIPLOFACE - Diplomatic Face-work: Between Confidential Negotiations and Public Display
The rise of social media, coupled with demands for more transparency and democracy in world politics, brings new challenges to international diplomacy. State leaders and diplomats continue to react to traditional media, but now also attempt to present themselves proactively through tweets and public diplomacy. These efforts often interfere directly with closed-door negotiations and its codes of restraint, discretion and secrecy.
The research project DIPLOFACE explores the relationship between diplomatic negotiations and the public, taking the concept of ‘face-work’ to the international level. DIPLOFACE combines participant observation, interviews and digital studies, generating new knowledge about how the information revolution challenges and transforms diplomacy, how leaders and diplomats handle new media, and the role of face-saving and face-threatening strategies in international relations. DIPLOFACE seeks to advance our understanding of diplomacy in the 21st century beyond existing International Relations and diplomatic theory.
DIPLOFACE develops a sociologically and anthropologically informed approach to studying how state leaders and diplomats manage their nation’s ‘faces’ or ‘images of self’ in the information age. DIPLOFACE explores the relationship and tensions between confidential diplomatic negotiations and publicly displayed interventions in the media, taking the micro-sociological concept of ‘face-work’ to the international level.
The project hypothesis is that diplomatic face-work is increasingly important for decision-makers who perform simultaneously on the ‘backstage’ and the ‘front-stage’ of international relations. DIPLOFACE sets out to identify, theorize and analyse the repertoire of face-saving, face-honouring and face-threatening techniques practices employed in confidential negotiations and in public.
DIPLOFACE advances our theoretical understanding of diplomacy in the 21st century significantly beyond existing International Relations and diplomatic theory. DIPLOFACE combines participant observation, interviews and digital studies, generating important new knowledge about the relationship between public and confidential multilateral negotiation, how state leaders and diplomats handle new media, and the role of face-saving and face-threatening strategies in international relations.
Rebecca Adler-Nissen, Katrine Emilie Andersen and Lene Hansen (2019). 'Images, emotions, and international politics: The death of Alan Kurdi'. Review of International Studies, 1-21. doi:10.1017/S0260210519000317.
Kristin Anabel Eggeling (2019). 'The digitalization of public diplomacy'. Book review. Cambridge Review of International Affairs.
DIPLOFACE is funded by the European Research Council (ERC)
Project period: 2016-2021