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Introduction: Private Diplomacy, Making the Citizen Visible

  • Giles Scott-Smith EMAIL logo
From the journal New Global Studies


Orthodox Diplomatic History, with its focus on government sources, aims to piece together the decision-making reasoning of policy-makers and the apparatuses and outcomes of foreign policy implementation. In contrast, New Diplomatic History looks to broaden and deepen the analysis of international interactions along three planes: spatially, in the sense of granting more importance to the role of individuals and non-governmental institutions; temporally, since the examination of a wider field of diplomatic ‘actors’ challenges the standard periodisations; behaviorally, in that the very nature of diplomatic practice and the role (indeed the very notion) of the diplomat is being transformed in an ever-more-dynamic global context of multilateral agreements and transactions. Once the frame of ‘diplomacy’ is altered, so the kinds of actors who become visible change with it – and the designations ‘diplomacy’ and ‘diplomat’ become more fluid. The articles collected in this special issue of New Global Studies examine the input and influence of particular individuals in international relations who were able to pursue their own agendas either in alliance with, separate from, or sometimes against the interests of states. Such ‘private international relations’ opens up a rich research field highly relevant in the context of increasing global flows of people and ideas.


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    Weisbrode (2013, 48). See also on this point Pigman (2010).

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    See the Project’s website at <>

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    Schmidt subsequently commented on his mission on Google+: <>

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    The articles presented here have been selected from among the presentations at the conference Reframing Diplomacy: New Diplomatic History in the Benelux and Beyond, which took place at Leiden University during 6–7 September 2013.

Published Online: 2014-4-5
Published in Print: 2014-3-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin / Boston

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