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Complex Diplomacy: A field in flux

20 February 2018

Modern day diplomacy faces a rapidly changing, increasingly complex environment. The new edition of a field-leading textbook edited by ANU scholars Pauline Kerr and Geoffrey Wiseman from the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy confronts these challenges with the latest research. Diplomacy in a Globalizing World: Theories and Practices was first published by Oxford University Press in 2013, with a second edition published at the end of last year based on its strong global reception and pressing new areas of study.

The analysis of 23 international scholars is contained in the revised edition, including three new chapters covering some of the field’s most significant advances.

The first new chapter looks through the lens of practice theory, where patterns of everyday action and routine are emphasised, to demonstrate how enhanced understandings of bilateralism and multilateralism can be achieved.

The second presents an urgent reflection on the upsurge in studies of women and diplomacy, where women still remain less likely than men to be appointed to senior positions. In the third new chapter, former senior Australian diplomat Michael L’Estrange examines what the use of force by non-state actors, amid rising geopolitical tension between great powers, demands from modern diplomacy.

The findings of the first edition led Kerr and Wiseman to conclude that their concept of ‘complex diplomacy’ - with its core elements of hyperconnectivity, adaptivity and diversity - best encapsulated today’s global diplomatic system. The chapters of this second edition, new and revised, serve to reinforce that conclusion.

Geoffrey Wiseman teaches in the Master of Diplomacy program. Find out more.

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