Iver B. Neumann
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Diplomatic subjunctive
The case of Harry Potter’s realms
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The chapter opens by discussing how diplomacy is represented in popular culture and the arts. Since few people have first-hand knowledge of it, and it is rarely given much news exposure, most people owe their understanding of diplomacy to such representations. These representations have legitimacy effects, feeding back into how diplomats represent themselves to the public and therefore how politicians represent issues to the public. Representations of diplomacy thus have an indirect constitutive effect on diplomacy. The chapter gives a concrete example of an imagined diplomat, from the world of Harry Potter. When the rector at Harry’s school, Albus Dumbledore, draws up plans for defending his world against Voldemort, he pays particular attention to forging an alliance against him. To get the giants on board, Dumbledore sends half-man-half-giant Hagrid as his envoy. The chapter discusses this case of imaginary diplomacy as a comment on how states seek to liaise with indigenous peoples. What emerges is that a version of diplomacy now rarely found in scholarly literature – so-called anti-diplomacy, which sees relations to the Other in terms of confrontation between good and evil and diplomacy as an exercise in gathering the forces of good – seems to be hibernating within popular culture.

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