Public Diplomacy in Context – conference in Helsinki and Turku, April 2013

Just a quick post to talk about a conference we will organize with colleagues in Helsinki and Turku.

The Call for contributions came out, here:

There is also a blog, where information will be given and papers will be circulated:

To give you an idea of the main thrust of the conference, here are a few words:

The conference would like to emphasize innovative approaches towards the historical study of public diplomacy activities in Northern Europe. Participants are encouraged, in their presentations, to examine those in a chronologically wide and geographically comparative way. The main trend of research on “public diplomacy” has been infused with the notion that “public diplomacy” emerged late in the 20th century as a result of technological change, globalization, and a widening of the scope of international relations. This conference would like to suggest that what recent research calls “public diplomacy” is in fact a much older process of “national image management” by different actors – in several national settings there seems to be a historical continuum between early 20th century “image management” activities, propaganda, cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy, and the “nation branding” activities of the 1980s-1990s. This historical continuum will be under study during the conference.

As well, one of the goals of this conference is to unravel generalities about “public diplomacy” and to contextualize national image management activities in various Nordic and Baltic contexts and at various times; to highlight the variety of practices, actors, methods, incentives, interests involved in public diplomacy, and especially to consider the specificity of public diplomacy in small Northern European states and nations. National image management activities will be considered mostly as a part of foreign policy, with a strong involvement of state authorities, but it will also be seen as a part of complex, multilevel international relations – an activity “in context”, not a set of theoretical visions. We will acknowledge that public diplomacy is stuck in and determined by national, historical, intellectual, linguistic, administrative contexts, which give it a different feel at different times and in different places.

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