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Public Diplomacy Essay

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Public Relations Review 32 (2006) 91–96

Managing national reputation and international relations in the global era: Public diplomacy revisited
Jian Wang ∗
Department of Communication, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA Received 12 June 2005; received in revised form 19 December 2005; accepted 23 December 2005

Abstract The purpose of this paper is to review and re-examine the concept and practice of public diplomacy in light of the incredible pace of change in global politics and communication, and to discuss implications for future research. It first explains the significance of national reputation and its linkage to public diplomacy. It then surveys and assesses a broad range of literature on public diplomacy, characterized by three basic discourses: public diplomacy as policy-driven rather than relationship-based, the primacy of nation-state governments in the structure and process of public diplomacy, and an emphasis on mass media communication. The paper finally suggests and outlines further research efforts based on the existing literature and the evolving contexts. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Public diplomacy; International public relations; National reputation; Image management

Just as personal reputation and corporate reputation, national reputation also matters. As a form of public goods, it creates “either an enabling or a disabling environment” (Foreign Policy Centre, 2002, p. 9) in which nation-states pursue political goals and policies in the global arena. National reputation is unquestionably an instrument of power. Managing national reputation and nation-states’ relationship with stakeholders overseas has been an integral part of foreign-policy making and public diplomacy. National reputation is all about having a good name in the world of nations. It refers to collective judgments of a foreign country’s image and character that are then used to predict or explain its future behavior (Mercer, 1996, p....

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