July 1, 2017
The need to maintain embassies as essential outposts of diplomatic recognition and representation has been questioned by many observers. Critics deem them increasingly irrelevant in a globalized context of multiple, more adaptable actors, whereas their advocates hold on to the ongoing role of the nation-state in structures of global governance. Both sides agree that change is necessary, although they disagree on its goals and how far it should go. This Introduction sets out the main arguments present in the debate, laying the foundation for the articles that follow which explore how embassies, diplomats and diplomatic representation have all been adapted and transformed by the changing political context of the global era.