Everyday Geographies of Diplomatic Performance in New York

Authors: Alun Jones*, University College Dublin
Topics: Political Geography
Keywords: Diplomacy, Performance, United Nations
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


Diplomacy can be analysed through a performative lens. Such analyses hold together in one analytical frame, rather than individually, the human body, stage, speech and performance. Diplomatic representation is about state claim-making conducted through everyday performance and which is intended to mobilise affect and influence. Yet, lamentably, we know little about the everyday geographies of diplomatic performance particularly in international organisations. This is despite diplomacy being called upon in ever more trying geopolitical situations, with the effectiveness of international organisations being increasingly questioned by critical publics, and where diplomatic failure can have far-reaching consequences. Performance therefore matters to diplomatic outcomes. Despite its status as the largest international organisation, there is a dearth of analysis on the everyday geographies of diplomacy that shape the United Nations (UN). Particularly absent is investigation of the ways in which within the UN the production and circulation of claim making is transacted through diplomatic performance. Based upon close access to current and recent serving highest-level UN diplomats in New York, this paper explores how they experience, make sense of, and perform in their everyday worlds, and in doing so makes an important contribution to the extension of performance as a ‘lived experience’ into the field of critical geopolitics.

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