More-than-representational diplomacies and the materialities of diplomatic crises

Authors: Julian Clark*, School of Geography, University of Birmingham, UK
Topics: Political Geography
Keywords: Statecraft, geopolitics, diplomacy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Galerie 6, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Diplomats engage with foreign policy crises of one sort or another all the time, and much of the extant literature on diplomacy focuses upon the ways in which diplomats compose, justify and rationalise their actions in the name of the state. Only recently has this realist-constructivist approach been challenged, to reveal the relational and materialist bases of diplomacies. However, to date there has been little examination of the consequences of what some have termed a “more-than-representational diplomacy” (MTR) for our understanding of diplomatic crises. Here we consider three instances of what we term crisis spatialities from a M-T-R perspective. We define crisis spatialities as moments of potentially dramatic change in the spatiotemporalities of statecraft, when affectivities, reasoning and materialities cohere/conspire/inform particular courses of action. The paper argues that a MTR approach to crisis spatialities affords new insights into the veiled relationalities and materialities of diplomatic actors, particularly as these relate to the ploy of ‘the state’ as an actor in the making of ‘diplomatic history’ and ‘global order’. In doing so, we demonstrate the precarious nature of states in the global geopolitical imaginary.

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