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Magnus Marsden, Diana Ibañez-Tirado and David Henig

This article considers the relevance of an ethnographic approach towards the study of diplomacy. By drawing upon recent interdisciplinary developments we critically reassess the ongoing assumption that in the modern world diplomacy is separated from other domains of human life, and that the only actors authorized and able to conduct diplomacy are the nation-state’s representatives. Having outlined recent theoretical interventions concerning the turn towards the study of everyday, unofficial and grass-roots forms of diplomacy, the article suggests some of the ways in which ethnography can be deployed in order to understand how individuals and communities affected by geopolitical processes develop and pursue diplomatic modes of agency and ask how they relate to, evaluate and arbitrate between the geopolitical realms that affect their lives. In so doing, we propose an analytical heuristic – ‘everyday diplomacy’ – to attend to the ways individuals and communities engage with and influence decisions about world affairs.

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David Henig

If the first step in developing an ethnography of everyday diplomacy requires rescaling analytical focus on the forms of mediated exchange beyond the realm of the nation-state, this needs to be followed by an exploration of the ‘sites’ where everyday diplomacy actually takes place. One such ‘site’, which epitomizes the quintessence of diplomatic practice, is dining and commensality. By re-scaling this axiom beyond state-level diplomacy, I explore how the notion of sofra [table/dining etiquette] is deployed by a Muslim Dervish brotherhood in a post-cosmopolitan town in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina. I suggest that the notion of sofra embodies both a mode of being diplomatic as well as a site of everyday diplomacy. The sofra thus enables the brotherhood to stage ‘events of hospitality’ to forge and mediate relationships between various ‘others’, locally and transnationally.

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Health diplomacy

For whom? By whom? For what?

Annamarie Bindenagel Šehović

English abstract: This article explores the role of health diplomacy in promoting the right to health. It first looks at the historical trajectory of the right to health as it evolves and intersects with state and human and health security. Second, it analyzes the definitions and roles of health diplomacy. It argues that health diplomacy is undergoing a cycle of (re)invention and innovation, bringing in both new and traditional actors. Yet it points out a gap in the subject of health diplomacy, asking what is the right to health, and what does its definition mean for the (changing) role of health diplomacy? It concludes by offering initial insight into what health diplomacy might be in the nearer future.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo explora el papel de la diplomacia de salud en la promoción del derecho a la salud. En primer lugar, examina la trayectoria histórica del derecho a la salud, cómo evoluciona y se cruza con la seguridad estatal, humana y sanitaria. En segundo lugar, analiza las definiciones y funciones de la diplomacia de salud. Sostiene que la diplomacia de salud está atravesando un ciclo de (re)invención e innovación, atrayendo a actores nuevos y tradicionales. Sin embargo, señala una laguna en la diplomacia de salud, al preguntarse qué es el derecho a la salud, y qué significa su definición para el papel (cambiante) de la diplomacia de salud. Concluye ofreciendo una visión inicial de lo que podría ser la diplomacia de salud en un futuro próximo.

French abstract: Cet article explore le rôle de la diplomatie de la santé dans la promotion du droit à la santé. Il examine d’abord la trajectoire historique du droit à la santé, son évolution et son intersection avec la sécurité étatique, humaine et de la santé. Il analyse ensuite les défintions et les fonctions de la diplomatie de la santé. Il soutient que la diplomatie de la santé traverse un cycle de (ré)invention et d’innovation en attirant des acteurs nouveaux et traditionnels. Cependant il signale une lacune dans la diplomatie de la santé en posant la question de ce qu’est le droit à la santé, et de ce que sa définition signifie pour le rôle (changeant) de la diplomatie de la santé. Il conclut en proposant une vision preliminaire de ce que pourrait être la diplomatie de la santé dans un futur prôche.

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Gold Teeth, Indian Dresses, Chinese Lycra and ‘Russian’ Hair

Embodied Diplomacy and the Assemblages of Dress in Tajikistan

Diana Ibañez-Tirado

This article examines the assemblages of dress in Tajikistan as a showground of everyday diplomacy, and seeks to stimulate recognition of the alternative sites of diplomacy that play an active role in mediating political relations between diverse nation-states, and the brand images of nations. I suggest that the term ‘embodied diplomacy’ is useful to convey the processes through which Tajikistan’s people negotiate the government-led dress codes and navigate social pressures about public gendered images. The incorporation of so-called foreign items into people’s apparel triggers situations in which the assemblages of particular bodies and items of dress most clearly emerge as diplomatic sites. Such everyday situations reveal Tajikistan’s residents as diplomats insofar as they reflect on their roles as the country’s representatives at the same time as they deploy their skills of communication, persuasion and mediation to negotiate between compulsory dress codes, incoming fashion trends, family expectations and personal aesthetics.

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Ka-Kin Cheuk

Through an ethnographic study of Indian traders in Keqiao, a municipal Chinese district in Zhejiang Province where China’s largest fabric trade market is located, this article seeks to unpack the ways in which negative stereotypes of Indian traders in China have been historically sustained, culturally represented and, to a significant degree, socially tolerated and justified in a local Chinese market. By invoking the notion of ‘everyday diplomacy’, it illustrates the ways in which the diplomatic capabilities of the Indian traders – a group often denounced in the city for having questionable business ethics - are incorporated into the commonly-held ‘evil Indian’ image. It also considers why, despite such condemnation, these Indians continue to be recognized, albeit reluctantly, as potential business partners by most Chinese suppliers in Keqiao.

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Ana B. Amaya and Philippe De Lombaerde

English abstract: This introduction to the special section explores the nexus between global health governance and international health diplomacy. In these dynamic governance spaces, particular attention is paid to the multi-level and multi-actor character of global health governance and how health diplomacy functions in such a complex context. It is pointed out that the regional level plays both vertical (i.e., as an intermediary between the global and national levels) and horizontal (i.e., interregional) roles. The contributions to the special section develop the conceptual understanding of those interactions and analyze a number of concrete cases, including the African Union, ASEAN, the European Union, SADC, and UNASUR.

Spanish abstract: Esta introducción a la sección especial explora el nexo entre la gobernanza global de la salud y la diplomacia internacional de la salud. En estos espacios dinámicos de gobernanza, se presta especial atención al carácter multi-nivel y multiactor de la gobernanza sanitaria mundial y al funcionamiento de la diplomacia sanitaria en un contexto tan complejo. Se señala que el nivel regional desempeña funciones verticales (es decir, como intermediario entre los niveles mundial y nacional) y horizontales (es decir, interregionales). Las contribuciones en la sección especial desarrollan la comprensión conceptual de esas interacciones, así como analizan una serie de casos concretos, incluyendo la Unión Africana, la ASEAN, la Unión Europea, la SADC y la UNASUR.

French abstract: Cette introduction à la section spéciale explore le lien entre la gouvernance mondiale de la santé et la diplomatie internationale de la santé. Dans ces espaces dynamiques de gouvernance, une attention particulière est accordée au caractère multi-niveaux et multi-acteurs de la gouvernance mondiale de la santé et au fonctionnement de la diplomatie de la santé dans un contexte très complexe. Il est souligné que le niveau régional joue un rôle à la fois vertical (c’est-à-dire en tant qu’intermédiaire entre les niveaux mondial et national) et horizontal (c’est-à-dire interrégional). Les contributions à la section spéciale développent la compréhension conceptuelle de ces interactions et analysent un certain nombre de cas concrets, notamment l’Union africaine, l’ASEAN, l’Union européenne, la SADC et l’UNASUR.

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Sports Diplomacy and Emergent Nationalism

Football Links between the Two Yemens, 1970-1990

Thomas B. Stevenson and Abdul Karim Alaug

In the 1970s and 1980s, North and South Yemen appeared to be two states pursuing opposing, sometimes hostile, economic and political policies. Then, in 1990, they suddenly united. This article analyses sport diplomacy as an instrument in opening institutional contacts between the two governments and as a venue for conveying important socio-political and historical messages. Cross-border football contests reinforced the largely invented notion of a single Yemen derived from pre-Islamic kingdoms. This idea remains a foundation of Yemeni nationalism and a base of Yemeni national identity.

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Ana B. Amaya, Stephen Kingah and Philippe De Lombaerde

English abstract: Health governance has become multi-layered as the combined result of decentralization, regional integration and the emergence of new actors nationally and internationally. Whereas this has enhanced the installed capacity for health response worldwide, this complexity also poses serious challenges for health governance, health diplomacy and health policy-making. This article focuses on one of these challenges, namely the organization of statistical information flows at and between governance levels, and the emerging role that regional organizations play therein. Regional to national-level data flows are analyzed with the use of two case studies focusing on UNASUR (Bolivia and Paraguay) and SADC (Swaziland and Zambia). The results of the analysis lead to several policy recommendations at the regional and national levels.

Spanish abstract: La gobernanza de la salud se ha convertido en una gobernanza multi-nivel, resultado de la descentralización, integración regional y aparición de nuevos actores nacionales e internacionales. Aunque esto ha mejorado la capacidad de respuesta en materia de salud mundialmente, esta complejidad plantea desafíos para la gobernanza de la salud, diplomacia en salud y elaboración de políticas. Este artículo se centra en uno de estos retos: la organización de flujos de información estadística en y entre los niveles de gobernanza, y el papel emergente de las organizaciones regionales en este ámbito. Se analizan los flujos de datos entre regiones y países mediante dos estudios de casos en UNASUR (Bolivia y Paraguay) y SADC (Suazilandia y Zambia). Los resultados del análisis arrojan recomendaciones de política regional y nacional.

French abstract: La gouvernance en matière de santé est devenue multi-niveaux comme résultat combiné de la décentralisation, de l’intégration régionale et de l’émergence de nouveaux acteurs nationaux et internationaux. Bien que cela ait renforcé la capacité d’intervention sanitaire dans le monde entier, cette complexité pose également de sérieux défi s pour la gouvernance de la santé, la diplomatie et l’élaboration des politiques. L’article se concentre sur l’un de ces défi s, à savoir l’organisation des flux d’informations statistiques à l’intérieur et entre les niveaux de gouvernance, et sur le rôle émergent des organisations régionales. Les flux de données régionales et nationales sont analysés à l’aide de deux études de cas portant sur l’UNASUR (Bolivie et Paraguay) et la SADC (Swaziland et Zambie). Les résultats de l’analyse ont conduit à plusieurs recommandations de politiques.

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Not Soft Power, but Speaking Softly

‘Everyday Diplomacy’ in Field Relations during the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Jeremy Morris

Based on long-term fieldwork in Russia, but focusing mainly on the aftermath of the 2014 Malaysian airliner downing in Ukraine, this article examines the individual ethnographer and informants alike as unwilling ‘diplomatic’ representatives in the field. Firstly, I discuss the authoritarian political context in Russia and how it affects the notion of ‘soft power’ and ‘public’ discourse. Then I relate the familiar ‘political testing’ experience of researchers by informants, and ‘neutrality’ in field relations (Ergun and Erdemir 2010). Next, I draw on the anthropology of indirect communication to characterize ‘everyday diplomacy’ after the event as a particular kind of civility. I go on to examine attendant affective states of ‘tension, disturbance, or jarring’ (Navaro-Yashin 2012) that both threaten civility and enable it. Finally, I argue that classic ethnographic rapport-building deserves further examination in the light of the porosity of politics, the social environment and the field.

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Johannes Paulmann

The article investigates an essential characteristic of the Federal Republic of Germany's search for self-assurance in foreign cultural representations after World War II. A normative behavioral pattern, described here as an “attitude of restraint,” emerged during the Adenauer era, resulting in representations without emulation. The article focuses on German participation in world fairs-an example that reveals the multi-layered mechanisms linking diplomacy with culture, political attitudes with individual experiences and memories, and foreign relations with social conditions. The formation of an attitude of restraint constituted part of the long-term process of West German self-education and shaped cultural identities in the Federal Republic. The self-assurance re-found during the Adenauer era is placed in the context of political debates about the break with the Nazi past, defense against communist East Germany, and the selective turn toward an international modernity. Furthermore, the article offers an explanation regarding the diffusion of certain behavioral norms through everyday experience and practice.