Searching for a theory of public diplomacy

Eytan Gilboa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

427 Scopus citations


This work presents and critically evaluates attempts to theorize and conceptualize public diplomacy within several disciplines, including international relations, strategic studies, diplomatic studies, public relations, and communication. It also examines research methods used to investigate public diplomacy, including models, paradigms, case studies, and comparative analysis. The work identifies promising directions as well as weaknesses and gaps in existing knowledge and methodology and outlines a new research agenda. The presented analysis and examples suggest that only a systematic multidisciplinary effort and close collaboration between researchers and practitioners can lead to a coherent theory of public diplomacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-77
Number of pages23
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Instruments of public diplomacy
  • International public relations
  • Media framing
  • Models of public diplomacy
  • Nation branding
  • National image and reputation
  • Soft power
  • The new public diplomacy


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