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The Resilience of Diplomacy: Adaptation and Continuity of Diplomatic Practice in Crises
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0480-8715
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Description
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, I study how crises impact diplomatic norms and practices. Diplomacy plays a fundamental role in enabling peaceful and constructive relations between states. When successful, it can provide global common goods, ranging from international security, trading rules, to peaceful enforcement of international agreements, as well as resolving collective action problems such as climate change mitigation. Despite this crucial role, we still know relatively little about diplomatic norms and practices, the unwritten rules that structure interactions between diplomats. In particular, we have an insufficient understanding of how and when these norms and practices change. The institution of diplomacy is often described as a conservative one – it upholds a system of conventions that ensure the stability and predictability of relations between states. However, in light of recent political developments that pose challenges to cooperation within the framework of international institutions, it is essential to comprehend the effects of crises on diplomatic practice.

Three independent empirical studies are conducted to analyze diplomatic practices in the context of heightened levels of international contestation and crisis. Two of these studies focus on the way in which diplomats responsible for negotiating EU foreign policy cope with increasing contestation between member states. This internal crisis necessitates the development and implementation of practices that ensure that the EU continues to produce common positions and policies. The third study analyzes the way in which the states and state leaders of the G20 dealt with the uncertainty that arose following the transition to virtual summitry during the COVID-19 crisis. The study finds that the transition to virtual summitry created opportunities for signaling status in new ways. Finally, a fourth essay focuses on how practices should be conceptualized and studied. This essay emphasizes the need to understand two dimensions of practices (the rules and logic of a practice) in order to study them and understand their effects.

Together, the essays show that diplomatic norms and practices can and do change as a result of crises, but that this change is limited by the dispositions and structural conditions that shape the selection of practices. Shifts in practices linked to crises can thus be likened to how a storm affects the movements of a buoy anchored to the ocean floor. When a storm hits, the buoy might sway, but its movement is ultimately restricted by the length and strength of the chain holding it in place.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2023. , p. 72
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 218
Keywords [en]
diplomacy, practices, European Union, G20, crises, international organizations
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-514699ISBN: 978-91-513-1945-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-514699DiVA, id: diva2:1806495
Public defence
2023-12-08, Brusewitzsalen, Östra Ågatan 19, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-11-17 Created: 2023-10-22 Last updated: 2023-11-17
List of papers
1. Overcoming Dissent: Socialization in the EU's Political and Security Committee in a Context of Crisis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Overcoming Dissent: Socialization in the EU's Political and Security Committee in a Context of Crisis
2020 (English)In: Journal of Common Market Studies, ISSN 0021-9886, E-ISSN 1468-5965, Vol. 58, no 2, p. 328-344Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Various crises have plagued the EU's foreign policy over the last decade. As some member states increasingly question the founding principles of the EU, it is reasonable to expect that national representatives serving in preparatory bodies in the EU are forced to operate under stricter instructions from their capitals. Nevertheless, strong adherence to the coordination reflex and problem‐solving ethos is still prevalent within the political and security committee (PSC), the main policy coordination body within EU foreign policy. In order to understand this counterintuitive puzzle we conducted interviews with 20 PSC representatives. We found that national representatives primarily internalize and adhere to the rules and practices at the level of the group (procedural norms) rather than the founding principles of the EU (constitutive norms). Contrary to existing research, we argue that a theoretical distinction between these norms is necessary in order to understand fully how crises and contestation affect microlevel socialization.

Keywords
European Union, EU foriegn policy, Political and Security Committee, Socialization
National Category
Social Sciences Public Administration Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-392482 (URN)DOI:10.1111/jcms.12945 (DOI)000514404400007 ()
Available from: 2019-09-05 Created: 2019-09-05 Last updated: 2023-10-22Bibliographically approved
2. The Political and the Technical: How the Depoliticization of EU Foreign Policy Enables the Forging of Consensus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Political and the Technical: How the Depoliticization of EU Foreign Policy Enables the Forging of Consensus
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Despite increasing contestation among EU member states, the EU continues to take unanimous decisions on a large number of foreign policy issues. The EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is thus surprisingly resilient. In this article, I argue that this resilience can be partly explained by a number of practices in the CFSP decision-making process that depoliticize the negotiations in the higher-level Council Working Groups (CWGs), such as the Political and Security Committee (PSC). Based on 52 interviews with representatives to CFSP CWGs, I show that these depoliticization practices reduce the level of conflict in the higher-level preparatory bodies, thereby increasing the probability of forging consensus. Lower-level working groups are each responsible for a limited issue area characterized by clear political dividing lines, and more often discuss technical details rather than general principles of political issues. In contrast, higher-level working groups have a broader mandate, which enables issue linkage and helps to simplify negotiations due to the difficulties of having expertise on every foreign policy issue. In addition, the seniority of representatives in the PSC reduces the impact of political dividing lines. Together, these factors enable consensus to be forged in the PSC. These findings suggest that depoliticization practices in the CFSP contribute to the resilience of EU foreign policy.

National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-514697 (URN)
Available from: 2023-10-22 Created: 2023-10-22 Last updated: 2023-10-22
3. Visual diplomacy in virtual summitry: Status signalling during the coronavirus crisis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Visual diplomacy in virtual summitry: Status signalling during the coronavirus crisis
2022 (English)In: Review of International Studies, ISSN 0260-2105, E-ISSN 1469-9044, Vol. 48, no 2, p. 243-261Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

On 26 March 2020, the leaders of the Group of twenty major economies (G20) convened in an emergency virtual meeting to discuss the extraordinary situation facing the world. Virtual summitry provided a stark visual contrast to the traditional staging of modern multilateral diplomacy – leaders were suddenly responsible for their own staging, leaving them with new opportunities to create a favourable impression of how they, and their respective state, would be seen. Taking the disruption of virtual summitry as a starting point, we focus on the resulting new opportunities for visual diplomacy. We draw on the symbolic interactionism of Erving Goffman and we argue that status signalling in this context was based on a shared understanding of the symbols and resources that have social value in the interaction order of summit diplomacy. Based on a visual analysis of 51 photographs from the G20 video conference, we find that the visual performances during the extraordinary meeting reflected evident, but not necessarily intentional, attempts at status seeking. The article thus contributes to an increased understanding of how visual performances contribute to uphold status distinctions in multilateral diplomacy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press, 2022
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-470297 (URN)10.1017/s0260210521000607 (DOI)000765581500004 ()
Funder
Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, 2018.0090
Available from: 2022-03-22 Created: 2022-03-22 Last updated: 2023-10-22Bibliographically approved
4. The Role of Reflection in International Practice Theory
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Role of Reflection in International Practice Theory
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The presumed inability of individuals to reflect on and directly “access” practices has been a distinguishing feature of the IR practice turn. Despite the important role that the absence of reflection plays in IR practice research, this claim is seldom problematized: Who is unable to reflect; and what is it that they are unable to reflect on? This article questions this assumption and argues that the role of reflection in IR practice research has been neglected because practice scholars often conflate two separate dimensions of practice – the logic of practice and the rules of a practice. The logic of practice can be understood as the structural component of a practice that predisposes individuals to act appropriately without them necessarily knowing why. The rules of a practice by contrast are knowable and often explicitly verbalized. This conflation of the two dimensions has led to incoherent epistemological assumptions regarding what researchers and practitioners can know about practices, as well as the effects of changes in practices. I argue that if practice scholars are to gain a better understanding of practices, we must distinguish between these two dimensions. The utility of this distinction is illustrated in a critical review of four of the main approaches to the study of practices in IR: Bourdieusian praxeology, the Communities of practice approach, Schatzki’s ontology of practice and pragmatic sociology. The article provides scholars of IR with a framework for choosing the most suitable methods for the study of a practice, as well as for assessing the varying effects of changes in practices.

National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-514698 (URN)
Available from: 2023-10-22 Created: 2023-10-22 Last updated: 2023-10-22

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