22 Jan 2013

Collaborative Public Diplomacy – Published

Posted by Wandren PD

Collaborative Public Diplomacy: How Transnational Networks Influenced American Studies in Europe

During the early Cold War, the complex relationship between communities in Europe and the United States was of concern to those on both sides of the Atlantic. Using archival research and recorded interviews, this book charts the development of American Studies in Europe during that period. It demonstrates how negotiations took place through a network if relationships among the state, philanthropic foundations, and European scholars. Each interaction within this network had the potential to change the odds of a particular outcome occurring. Through analysis of these negotiations the book identifies factors which are influential in the conduct of successful collaborative public diplomacy and draws lessons for public diplomacy in an age when communities are connected through multi-hub, multi-directional networks.

From a collaborative perspective the role of public diplomacy initiatives is to facilitate interaction at a focal point for connection and action. This may be American Studies during the cold war but can equally be digital coordination points around contested elections in the 21st century. Collaborative Public Diplomacy demonstrates that to be successful, strategists require the ability to  identify focal points that already exist within a key population, whether common desires or locations, and the vision to recognise communities who are already likely to take action. However, Collaborative Public Diplomacy also requires space to be left for alternative perspectives to contribute to any initiative.

Response to the book: 

This is a remarkable manuscript by one of today’s leading and highly respected young scholars specializing in the theory and practice of public diplomacy – a rapidly growing field of academic study. Fisher’s book marshals and critically examines an extraordinary range of scholarly literature in two distinct but related areas of inquiry – current theories of networks and collaborative public diplomacy and the origins and development of American Studies in Europe  during the second half of the 20th century. Scholars in the field, and increasingly forward-leaning practitioners, will not be disappointed with Collaborative Public Diplomacy, given its scholarship and erudition.

Bruce Gregory, Professorial Lecturer, School of Media and Public Diplomacy, George Washington University

A path breaking book of immense significance to both the study and practice of public diplomacy; Ali Fisher goes beyond the loose endorsements of the value of partnerships and networks seen elsewhere to make a complex case for what should be done.  He illuminates his discussion with an impressive case study of the US creation of networks in the field of American Studies during the early Cold War.  His archival work for this case study alone is a major contribution to the field.  This complete book should be a game changer.

Nicholas J Cull, director USC Masters Program in Public Diplomacy and author of ‘The Decline and Fall of the United States Information Agency: American public diplomacy, 1989-2001 (Palgrave, 2012). 

Fisher has proven to be an adept story weaver as well as network weaver. In retelling the tale of American Studies during the cold war, Fisher identifies the key points that can facilitate or undermine successful collaborative public diplomacy.  Whereas collaboration may have been an option among allies during the cold war, in the future, collaborative public diplomacy [it] will be  an imperative and not all the partners will be friends. Learning how to increase the odds in collaborative public diplomacy is vital for not only playing, but staying relevant in today’s international arena.

RS Zaharna, author of Battles to Bridges: U.S. Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy After 9/11

With this book, Ali Fisher has done both scholars and students of leading-edge public diplomacy an enormous service. By tracing the post-war development of American Studies in Europe, the author not only identifies and elaborates the three essential drivers of effective PD – connectivity, networks and collaboration –  but also analyzes and illustrates a cross section of their historical antecedents. In a contested, competitive world still beset by state preferences for defence over diplomacy, for fighting over talking, Fisher illuminates an alternative, and entirely compelling way forward.

Daryl Copeland, author of Guerrilla Diplomacy: Rethinking International Relations

 

 

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