The present and future of diplomacy and diplomatic studies

Stuart Murray*, Paul Sharp, Geoffrey Wiseman, David Criekemans, Jan Melissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Of late, practical and theoretical interest in diplomacy and diplomatic studies has grown, prompting a number of diplomatic scholars to undertake a long overdue stock take of the past, present, and future of the subfield. What follows, therefore are five essays by both senior and junior scholars of diplomacy reflecting on the origins of diplomatic studies, showcasing contemporary scholarship, and suggesting some of the opportunities and challenges the study of diplomacy poses for those working in the broader ISA and International Relations (IR) communities in the future. Its aims are simple: to demonstrate that diplomacy and diplomatic theory are central to a complete understanding of international relations; to illustrate myriad possibilities for fascinating, valuable, and useful cross-fertilizations between diplomatic studies and other fields of study, IR chief among those; and to publicize future diplomatic research tasks and agendas. The authors take diverse approaches but agree on one thing: the need for a strong and active Diplomatic Studies Section in ISA serving as a two-way conduit between practitioners and scholars, alerting the former to the best in IR scholarship while reminding the latter that explanations and understandings of international relations from which diplomacy and diplomats are absent can never be complete. The need for such a conduit has never been more pressing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-728
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Studies Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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