module specification

GI6007A - Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Public Diplomacy and Global Communication
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
30 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
120 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay (2500 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This cutting-edge module explores one of the most exciting and rapidly expanding fields of contemporary diplomatic studies and an area which has seen a wide variety of innovations in state practice in recent years. As public opinion has come to be seen as increasingly influential and important in world politics, states and other international actors have rediscovered public and cultural diplomacy, a form of diplomatic practice in which states engage with publics both abroad and at home. Due to changes in global communications, this form of diplomacy is undergoing rapid change, which makes it especially interesting and important.
The module examines the changing nature of public and cultural diplomacy in the context of the evolution of global political communications. It explores the nature of international political communication, evaluating key concepts such as propaganda and strategic communications, and examines the role of culture in world politics more broadly, including media such as film and the internet, as well as key actors such as celebrity diplomats.

Module aims

The module has the following aims:

  1. To explore the public diplomacy strategies and techniques employed by states and other actors in the international system;
  2. To analyse the nature of contemporary international political communications;
  3. To survey the role of the media and the information society in contemporary world politics;
  4. To examine the role of non-state actors, such as celebrities, in global political communication.


Exploring public diplomacy, strategic communications and propaganda; the evolving nature of international political communication; the media and information society’s role in representing diplomacy and conflict; the setting of the media and communications agenda by states, international organisations and NGOs; celebrity diplomacy and goodwill ambassadors; the challenges of public diplomacy after 9/11.

Learning and teaching

Teaching will comprise weekly lectures and seminars. The seminar will involve small group discussions, debates and group work. The module makes extensive use of blended learning, with full use of the dedicated WebLearn site for the module.
Reflective and independent learning will be encouraged through the regular interactive lectures and seminar discussions. Students will be required to attend all classes, to engage in the set activities, to prepare in advance by attempting assigned readings, to complete coursework ahead of deadlines, to access markers’ comments on their work and act on the feedback they receive.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the changing nature of the global communications order and the place of states and other actors within it.
2. Explain the role of the media in representing conflict and diplomacy.
3. Apply their resulting analytical expertise to write and comment with authority on the subject of global communication.

Assessment strategy

This module is assessed by a 2500-word essay from a list of essay questions.


Alleyne, M. D. (2003) Global Lies? Propaganda, the UN and the World Order. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Cooper, A. F. (2008) Celebrity Diplomacy. Boulder, CO: Paradigm
Constantinou, C., Kerr, P. and Sharp, P. (eds) (2016), The SAGE Handbook of Diplomacy. London: SAGE.
Copeland, D. and Potter, E.H. (2008) ‘Public Diplomacy and Conflict Zones: Military Information Operations Meet Political Counter-Insurgency.’ The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Vol. 3, No. 3
Cowan, G. and Cull, N. (eds) (2008) Public Diplomacy in a Changing World. London: SAGE
Cull, N. (2012) The Decline and Fall of the United States Information Agency: American Public Diplomacy, 1989-2001. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Curtis, S. and Jaine, C. (2012) ‘Public Diplomacy at Home in the UK: Engaging Diasporas and Preventing Terrorism’, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Vol. 7, No. 4
Herman, E. S. and Chomsky, N. (1988) Manufacturing Consent. New York: Pantheon Books
Iosifidis, P., & Wheeler, M. (2016) Public Spheres and Mediated Social Networks in the Western Context and Beyond. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Leonard, M. (2002) Public Diplomacy. London: Foreign Policy Centre
Melissen, J. (ed.) (2005) The New Public Diplomacy. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Pamment, J. (2016) British Public Diplomacy and Soft Power: Diplomatic Influence and the Digital Revolution. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Pigman, G. and A. Deos (2008) ‘Consuls for Hire: Private Actors, Public Diplomacy.’ Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 4, No. 1
Rugh, W. A. (2014) Front Line Public Diplomacy: How US Embassies Communicate with Foreign Publics. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Snow, N. and P. Taylor (eds) (2009) The Routledge Public Diplomacy Handbook. London: Routledge
Taylor, P. M. (1997) Global Communications: International Affairs and the Media since 1945. London: Routledge
Tsaliki, L., Huliaras, A. and Frangonikolopoulos, C.A. (eds) (2011) Transnational Celebrity Activism in Global Politics Changing the World? Bristol: Intellect
USC Center on Public Diplomacy:
Wheeler, M. (2011) ‘Celebrity Diplomacy: United Nations’ Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace.’ Celebrity Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1.
Wheeler, M. (2013) Celebrity Politics: Image and Identity in Modern Political Communications. Cambridge: Polity