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.
New Global Studies approaches contemporary globalization as a whole and across disciplinary lines. It draws from history, sociology, anthropology, political science and international relations to study the past and present of today's globalizing process. Topics include economic globalization, global media networks, preservation of the global environment, transnational manifestations of culture and the methodology of global studies itself.