Archive for calls, October 2016

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[ecrea] Call for papers on soft power and public diplomacy

Wed Oct 05 14:03:42 GMT 2016

International Communication Association Annual Conference

San Diego, USA, 25-29 May 2017

Interventions: Communication Research and Practice

Call for papers for panel contributions:

“Dynamic approaches to communicative resources of soft power: bridging disciplinary gaps, merging theory and practice”

The analysis of communicative resources of soft power such as public diplomacy is moving from static modelling to more dynamic approaches, accounting for change as a feature in statecraft. Among communicative resources of soft power, public diplomacy has gained a central place in Anglo-American academic discourses. However, research reveals that in various national settings media technologies and new-entrants to local fields governing resources of soft power bring changes to communicative practices, which are yet to be accounted for in terms of theory-building or adapting new analytical avenues.

International politics scholars have explored changes to the international system, but communication scholars have not fully grasped change as a feature of soft power. Theoretical approaches to analysis of communicative practices argue for conceptual convergence, for example ‘new public diplomacy’, ‘networked public diplomacy’ or ‘relationship-building’ (derived from corporate public relations). Yet, the frameworks and methodologies for analysis of changes to the ways in which state and non-state actors contribute to our understanding of soft power governance and its resources remains under-developed. Because of that, scholarship runs a risk of leading to taxonomic and conceptual assumptions when confronted with empirical insights or epistemic descriptions, particularly if explored in non-Western national settings or approached from a comparative perspective.

The analysis of dynamics of change in statecraft, and ways in which communicative practices facilitate exercising influence in world politics, has been furthered complicated by the emergence of new media technologies. The changing media landscapes pushed the boundaries of the public diplomacy practice into digitalised forms of diplomacy such as ‘cyber-diplomacy’ or ‘digital diplomacy’. Whilst the academic discourses on diplomacy and statecraft accounted for the role of international broadcast media in exercising soft power, the interplays between ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ media technologies, their impact on foreign news media coverage of states and their nations, the ways in which media coverage translates into national reputations and the overlapping roles of journalists as public diplomats, indicates changing media landscapes in which soft power is exercised. To date, multidisciplinary approaches to analysis of communicative resources of soft power have yielded some evidence of qualitative and quantitative changes to the governance of its resources. This also includes research uncovering juxtaposition of Western soft power concepts and practices with non-Western national settings, which, we argue, requires particularly nuanced approaches to analysis of communicative practices, and theorising ways in which state and non-state actors adopt, adapt or resist changes in wielding soft power.

Therefore, this panel is looking for empirical contributions to address how change comes about in soft power statecraft and the governance of its communicative practices (e.g. ‘public diplomacy’, ‘cultural diplomacy’, ‘public relations’, ‘destination marketing’), and how changes to the communicative practices accompanying soft power can be theorised in various research designs, including comparative perspectives. In response to a growing requirement for the internationalisation of research on political communication, and for considering non-Western actors in diplomacy and statecraft, the panel is looking to address, and is seeking for contributions, on the following topics:

* Theory-building and ontologies for merging contemporary studies on soft power and its communicative practices – such as public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, destination marketing, investment marketing and/or nation branding; * Analytical approaches to capture ‘change’ in studies on statecraft and soft power; * New ways of theorizing links between communicative practices and soft power; * Changing roles of the state, political leaders, corporate actors, civic society organizations and celebrities in shaping the statecraft of soft power; * Comparative frameworks for analysis of communicative resources of soft power; * The interplay and convergence of international broadcast media and digital media in soft power, including public diplomacy and/or cultural diplomacy; * Digital methodologies and digital data mining and tracing approaches.

Please, send your 350 words abstract to Pawel Surowiec at (psurowiec /at/<mailto:(psurowiec /at/> by 24th of October 2016. Selected participants will be contacted with further instructions.

Dr. Pawel Surowiec
Senior Lecturer in Propaganda Studies

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