Theorising the role of cultural products in cultural diplomacy from a Cultural Studies perspective

David Clarke

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Cultural diplomacy continues to attract significant interest as a potential means for states to exercise ‘soft power’. However, policy-makers and academics who assert the efficacy of cultural diplomacy in terms of influencing foreign publics and states rarely consider how cultural products are actually received abroad. This article proposes that this process of reception can be better understood with reference to the theoretical approaches of Cultural Studies, which encour- age us to recognise the extent to which audiences are implicated in processes of meaning-making, processes which are closely associated with the articulation of identity. By applying these approaches to cultural diplomacy, policy-makers and researchers could shift their focus to an exploration of realities of the reception cultural products abroad, which would better inform their assumptions about how to achieve successful cultural diplomacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-163
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Policy
Issue number2
Early online date16 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • cultural diplomacy
  • Cultural Studies
  • cultural products
  • soft power


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