Making States Sensible: Ritual, Symbols, and Feeling in Diplomatic Practice

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Title: Making States Sensible: Ritual, Symbols, and Feeling in Diplomatic Practice
Creators: Faizullaev, Alisher
Contributors: Flemming, Kyle
Keywords: diplomacy
Issue Date: 2012-04-18
Publisher: Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies
Series/Report no.: Mershon Center for International Security Studies. Director's Speaker Series
Abstract: Symbols and rituals are essential parts of international diplomacy, and they play an important role in power and identity politics of states. In order to make sense of state affairs, diplomatic practice often addresses individuals' senses and uses collective forms of experiencing states and interstate relations through ceremonies and other symbolic actions. The three most important symbols used in diplomacy -- symbols of identity, power and status (prestige and honor) -- help to sensualize the state's self, might, and dignity, and also serve as emotionally charged means for creating and maintaining people's sense of belonging to the state. Collective feelings caused by rituals, ceremonies, symbols, and visual and other images contribute to forming shared meanings of international politics and diplomacy. Diplomats ought to master both discursive and non-discursive languages of diplomacy and "sacred affairs" of international politics. However, certain "cults of state" supported by diplomatic practices contribute to common-sense understanding and conventional wisdom of interstate relations.
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