Mapping out a Spectrum of Public Diplomacy Initiatives

Information and Relational Communication Frameworks

Authored by: R.S. Zaharna

Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy

Print publication date:  October  2008
Online publication date:  November  2008

Print ISBN: 9780415953016
eBook ISBN: 9780203891520
Adobe ISBN: 9781135926892


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As evident by this handbook, public diplomacy is rapidly becoming a field of study in its own right. However, the more the field grows, the more unwieldy it appears to become. How does one sort through the mushrooming works on public diplomacy that range from propaganda to nation-building to cultural programs? In an effort to answer this question, I began exploring the communication assumptions and dynamics underlying how political entities try to communicate with international publics.1 What emerged in the array of public diplomacy initiatives were two underlying perspectives of communication. One perspective tends to view communication as a linear process of transferring information often with the goal of persuasion or control. The other perspective sees communication as a social process of building relationships and fostering harmony. Various dimensions of these two parallel views of communication have been vigorously explored in intercultural communication scholarship.2

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