Home > News and media > Publications > Publications archive > 2013 > Diplomatic Sites: a critical enquiry


Diplomatic Sites: a critical enquiry

Page Contents >

Iver Neumann
Hurst (May 2013)

Although diplomacy increasingly takes place in non-traditional settings that are increasingly non-Western, our debates about diplomacy still focus on traditional points of contact such as the conference table, the ministerial office and the press conference.

This book is framed as a discussion on whether increasing globalisation and the rise of powers such as China, India and Brazil will precipitate a crisis in diplomacy; it also tackles the problem of diplomatic Eurocentrism head on. The author, who has broad working experience of diplomacy, reflects on sites that range from the dining table - a quotidian and elementary meeting place where all kinds of business is settled amid a variety of culturally specific but little-known practices - via the civil-war interstices where diplomats from third parties try to facilitate and mediate conflict, to grand diplomatic extravaganzas, the object of which is to overwhelm the other party.

In a media age, popular understanding of diplomacy is a force to be reckoned with, hence the book discusses how diplomacy is represented in an almost wholly overlooked space, namely that of popular culture. The author concludes that, far from being in crisis, diplomatic activity is increasingly in evidence in a variety of sites. Rather than being a dying art, in today's globalised world it positively thrives.

  • Iver Neumann is Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at LSE.

Purchase this book from the publishers|


'Iver Neumann is one of the most sophisticated commentators on contemporary diplomacy, and also one of the most entertaining. This delicious book judiciously blends erudition and anecdote, in the process offering fresh perspectives on aspects of diplomacy that are routinely taken for granted. A delight from beginning to end'
William Maley, Professor and Director, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, The Australian National University

'Iver Neumann does a fine job of analysing the significance of where diplomacy takes place. In a time of continuing globalisation, diplomatic practice is becoming more diffuse, with its venues ranging from physical to virtual conference tables and beyond. Although many diplomatic traditions are not obsolete, they exist in a dynamic new context that Neumann explores thoroughly and thoughtfully.'
Philip Seib, Professor of International Relations and Director, Center on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California

'Diplomatic Sites is a collection of thought-provoking, challenging and often unconventional meditations on the nature of contemporary diplomacy. Neumann forces the reader to think through issues and scenarios that often step far beyond the more comfortable ambits of international relations.'
Michele Acuto, Stephen Barter Research Fellow for the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities, University of Oxford

'Ranging from Byzantium to Star Trek, and drawing on his own experiences, Iver Neumann tells us what diplomacy is really like. He shows that what diplomats eat, and where they sit, can be just as important as what they say to one another.'
Patrick Salmon, Chief Historian at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Diplomatic Sites