International Relations

Iver B. Neumann

This chapter is co-written with Halvard Leira and discusses the evolution of what we have come to call the consul. The first part looks at consular work avant la letter. We discuss the emergence of intermediary functions between a polity or a group within a polity and a group from another polity and excavate the phenomenon’s Muslim origins. We trace how, beginning in the sixth century BCE, the consular institution evolved to reach a tipping-point in the Eastern Mediterranean at the beginning of the second millennium CE, as the judge of a trading colony. A second tipping-point was brought on by the emergence of sovereignty in Europe, which transformed the judge into a representative of the state. This tipping-point was reached in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars. A short century afterwards, a third tipping-point enveloped the consular institution in the emergent unitary foreign services. We end by speculating that with the increased density of global communication, the consular institution may be on the way to a return to separate institutions and a new tipping-point.

in Diplomatic tenses
Iver B. Neumann

Extant literature on diplomacy is thoroughly text-oriented. While texts are obviously very central indeed to diplomacy, diplomacy precedes literacy as a phenomenon, and diplomats still spend large chunks of their working time on planning for and executing what we may call visual work. Beginning with a discussion of how the visual emerged in diplomacy, Chapter 4 goes on to lay down the groundwork for the study of visual diplomacy in three ways. First, it establishes diplomacy’s visual modalities – that is, how seeing is constitutive of this particular social institution relative to other social institutions. Secondly, it draws attention to the importance of the diplomatic practices that make the visual visible – that is, how diplomats spread images to wider audiences. Thirdly and in conclusion, it draws up a taxonomy of three visual strategies used for this purpose – a hegemonic and Western strategy, a national strategy, and a strategy that is spiteful of Western hegemony. The power differentials involved between these strategies make visual diplomacy constitutive of the lingering Western hegemony in international relations at large.

in Diplomatic tenses
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The nature of diplomacy
Iver B. Neumann

The introduction argues that diplomacy is in the throes of a tipping-point that may transform it from a primarily states-oriented business to a multi-oriented activity focused on global governance. While the change in agents that this would entail has been much discussed, this book’s approach to diplomacy as an emergent phenomenon allows us to complement these debates by focusing on possible changes in subject matter. Increasingly, diplomats seem not only to represent states and negotiate with one another but also to work in tandem to shore up the global system overall. Diplomats are trying to reduce tension and state collapse by mediating in crisis environments.

in Diplomatic tenses
Abstract only
Iver B. Neumann

This chapter discuss how visual diplomacy is actually carried out. Diplomats have to be presentable – that is, ‘clean, smart, or decent enough to be seen in public’ (Oxford English Dictionary). The first part of the chapter discusses why visual and aesthetic aspects tend to be under-communicated by Western practitioners and scholars of politics and diplomacy and accounts for this by pointing to a deep-seated scepticism of visual props and a twentieth-century reaction against Nazi aestheticizing of politics. The second part sets out what it takes to stage a successful visual performance and points to three factors: the agent’s own preparations, audience assessment and mediation to a broader public. The third part uses the typology suggested in Chapter 4 of the book to analyse two particularly successful performances of accreditation and highlight how they succeed because they were deemed to be particularly presentable as a result of being particularly smart and decent, respectively. It also discusses two spiteful performances. In conclusion, I argue that smartness trumps decency and spitefulness.

in Diplomatic tenses
George Washington and Anglo-American memory diplomacy, c.1890–1925
Sam Edwards

Sam Edwards describes the period 1890–1925 as the first age of transatlantic memory diplomacy, a period in which the potential of commemoration as a mechanism through which to strengthen Anglo-American ties was first explored. Focusing on British efforts to re-Anglicize George Washington, he analyzes the placement of a new statue of the first US president outside London’s National Gallery as well as the rededication and memorialization of Sulgrave Manor, Washington’s ancestral family estate in Northamptonshire. Of particular interest to Edwards is the agency of both government elites and private associations, particularly the US National Society of Colonial Dames, and he perspicaciously dissects the intersections of gender roles, racial constructs, social class, strategic objectives, and patriotic identities that determined the goals and methods of commemoration in this era.

in Culture matters
Srdjan Vucetic

Finn Pollard explores P. G. Wodehouse’s early twentieth-century fiction and charts the evolution of the famous author’s portrayals of the United States and its people from his initial use of common archetypes to much more complicated themes and character relationships, including Anglo-American friendships as well as romantic entanglements. Pollard delves into the period influences that contributed to this evolution, including the boys’ school story, the nature of London theatre, and Anglo-American romance novels, and seeks to illuminate why Wodehouse’s British and American characters mingled with increasing ease, were at times treated as interchangeable, and asserted a mutually positive relationship. Ultimately, this exploration of popular literature suggests readers in both countries were increasingly exposed to a new, influential, and warmer narrative of Anglo-American relations in the period preceding the Great War.

in Culture matters
Evaluating commemoration and generational transmission of the special relationship
Robert M. Hendershot

Robert Hendershot investigates a broader pattern of Anglo-American ‘places of memory’ on both sides of the Atlantic to demonstrate how historical markers, statues of historic figures, and churches have been used to create and preserve, via generational transmission, notions of an Anglo-American imagined community. Exploring the government agendas behind (and popular reception of) a hegemonic Anglo-American narrative designed to celebrate US–UK cooperation and cement perceptions of collective culture, Hendershot illustrates how a heavily manipulated but influential version of the past has become physically as well as rhetorically ambient in both nations.

in Culture matters
Alan P. Dobson

Alan Dobson examines the ideological foundations of Anglo-American relations by addressing the idea of a common Anglo-American political culture. Via a nuanced analysis of key works of philosophy, economics, and political theory that have shaped the perspectives and histories of both countries across two centuries, he demonstrates that British and American versions of liberal political doctrine overlap and are so central to both nation’s political traditions that they have transcended national boundaries. Presenting evidence of a transatlantic dialogue through the temporal progression of political debates in each country, Dobson demonstrates that British and American political cultures are and always have been speaking to one another.

in Culture matters
Thomas C. Mills

Tom Mills considers the impact of transatlantic cultural crosscurrents though analysis of the Beatles’ 1964 conquest of the American popular music market and the apex of the cultural phenomenon known as Beatlemania. Placing Anglo-American musical transference into context with US consumer capitalism, the bourgeoning youth movement, and increasingly turbulent gender and racial politics, Mills reveals how Beatlemania fundamentally challenged many social norms of the era even while the group’s humor and charm, as well as American perceptions of British respectability, helped to mask its culturally subversive elements from the white American middle class.

in Culture matters
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Culture, ‘specialness,’ and new directions
Robert M. Hendershot and Steve Marsh
in Culture matters