module specification

GI5006 - Diplomacy Old and New (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Diplomacy Old and New
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio (4500 words)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module explores the practice of modern diplomacy. The first half of the module explores the historical emergence and evolution of diplomacy and the classic texts of diplomatic theory, before going on to concentrate on the roles and functions of traditional diplomatic institutions, systems and processes, such as embassies, foreign ministries, diplomatic services and international organisations.

The second half of the module explores the main challenges posed to diplomatic practice by global change in recent decades: the rise of inclusive multilateral diplomacy in the UN and other fora; the increasing importance of non-state actors in contemporary diplomacy; the impact of faster air travel enabling leaders to conduct their own diplomacy; the revolution in information and communications technology; and innovations in diplomatic institutions (such as the emergence of the European External Action Service).

A key theme running through the whole module is the evolving nature of international negotiation, which will be illustrated through detailed case studies of environmental, security and trade diplomacy.

This is a highly practical module. Students will have opportunities to develop their ability to blog and use Twitter, engage in simulated negotiations and interact with practitioners through visits to embassies and other institutions and/or practitioner classes.


Approaches to the study of diplomacy LO2, LO4
The historical emergence and evolution of diplomacy LO1
Bilateral diplomacy in theory and practice LO2, LO4
The formation and structure of diplomatic services LO1, LO2
The debate over the benefits of old vs. new forms of diplomacy LO4
Diplomacy and the revolution in information and communications technology LO2
The nature of multilateral diplomacy LO2, LO3
The diplomacy of international organisations LO3
Public and cultural diplomacy LO2
The diplomacy of non-state actors LO3
The changing nature of international negotiation LO2
The diplomacy of trade, the environment and security LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Most weeks teaching will consist of a two-hour combined lecture and workshop and a one-hour seminar. Each lecture/workshop will comprise an interactive lecture and an activity undertaken by small groups, with the result of these activities fed back in a plenary session towards the end of the two-hour session. The seminar will involve small group discussions, debates and group work. Others weeks all or some of the three-hour sessions will be devoted to simulations exploring the nature of negotiation and practical strategies that can be employed and a workshop exploring students’ draft diplomatic cables.
The module makes extensive use of blended learning, including: reflective writing on publicly accessible blogs by students throughout the module, with the requirement that they comment on each other’s postings; the use of Twitter to share information and explore its diplomatic uses; full use of the dedicated WebLearn site for the module.

Reflective learning will be encouraged through blogging, practical activities and the regular interactive lectures, workshop activities and seminar discussions.

Although it is concerned with the academic study of diplomacy, this is a very practically-oriented module which provides students with a range of opportunities to enhance their employability. They include: interaction with serving and/or former practitioners through visits to embassies and other institutions in London and/or guest lecturers; practical experience of negotiation through a simulated negotiation; the enhancement of students’ writing skills through report writing and publicly accessible reflective blogging throughout the module; and the development of students’ understanding of the professional uses of Twitter.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Understand the key historical developments in the nature of diplomacy.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of diplomacy in world politics and explain the changing nature of diplomatic institutions and processes.
3. Analyse the relationships between states and non-state actors in explaining outcomes in contemporary international relations.
4. Apply their resulting analytical expertise to write and comment with authority on the subject of diplomacy in contemporary world politics.


Core Readings

Berridge, G. R. (2015) Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 5th edition. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave
Barder, B. (2014) What Diplomats Do: The Life and Work of Diplomats. Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield
Constantinou, C.M., Kerr, P. and Sharp, P. (eds) (2016) The SAGE Handbook of Diplomacy. London: SAGE
Roberts, I. (ed.) (2017) Satow’s Diplomatic Practice, 7th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Additional Readings
Bayne, N. and Woolcock, S. (eds) (2016) The New Economic Diplomacy: Decision-Making and Negotiation in International Economic Relations, 4th edition. London: Routledge
Benedick, R. E. (1998) Ozone Diplomacy, 2nd edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Berridhge, G. R. (2011) The Counter-Revolution in Diplomacy and Other Essays. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave
Berridge, G. R. (2012) Embassies in Armed Conflict. London: Continuum
Betsill, M. and Corell, E. (eds) (2008) NGO Diplomacy: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Bjola, C. and Murray, S. (eds) (2016) Secret Diplomacy: Concepts, Contexts and Cases. London: Routledge
Cooper, A. F., Heine, J. and Thakur, R. (eds) (2013) The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Cooper, A. F., Hocking, B. and Maley, W. (eds) (2008) Diplomacy and Global Governance. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave
Fisher, R. and Ury, W. (2012) Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement without Giving in. New York: Random House
Fletcher, T. (2016) Naked Diplomacy: Power and Statecraft in the Digital Age. London: William Collins
Hamilton, K. and Langhorne, R. (2010) The Practice of Diplomacy, 2nd edition. London: Routledge
Hocking, B. and Melissen, J. (2015) ‘Diplomacy in the Digital Age’, Clingendael: Netherlands Institute of International Relations, available at
Hocking, B., Melissen, J., Riordan, S. and Sharp, P. (2012) ‘Futures for Diplomacy: Integrative Diplomacy in the 21st Century’, Clingendael: Netherlands Institute of International Relations, available at
Hoffman, J. (2003) ‘Reconstructing Diplomacy.’ The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Vol. 5, No. 4
Leguey-Feilleux, J-R. (2009) The Dynamics of Diplomacy. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner
Melissen, J. (ed.) (1999) Innovation in Diplomatic Practice. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave
Pigman, G. A. (2010) Contemporary Diplomacy. Cambridge: Polity
Rana, K. (2011) 21st Century Diplomacy: A Practitioner’s Guide. London: Continuum

Key Websites
British Diplomatic Oral History Programme, Churchill College Cambridge:
Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School: