Ben O’Loughlin (Politics and IR, Royal Holloway)
We advance a narrative approach to the study of public diplomacy. We bring together two phenomena: information disorder in communication, and order in world politics, to examine the challenges of narrating public diplomacy.
We examine how actors can use tools of information disorder to further their strategic aims to shape international order.
First, we set out these two (dis)order phenomena and their relationship. Second, we set out the dilemma of establishing and verifying truth claims in this information disorder. Third, we demonstrate why analysis of actors’ strategic narratives used in this context can explain how they are using information disorder to further their claims.
Fourth and finally, we explore how generative artificial intelligence (AI) offers new tools for communication in foreign policy. It is important to examine both how actors use these tools, and how they try to control and direct the development of these tools.
We argue that these tools add another dimension to a contested multipolar international order, one that extends a basic problem that generates politics: different people in different places prioritise different things and give things different meanings.
Generative AI will not change this or solve this. This means an increasing complexity of communication since we wrote of strategic narrative in 2010. However, the distinct practices of actors using narratives to shape behaviour, and narratives being fundamental to how citizens view the world, remains unchanged.
Professor Ben O’Loughlin is director of the New Political Communication Unit at Royal Holloway, and has developed the concept of ‘strategic narrative’ as an expression of soft power in international relations.
This will be a hybrid event, though we strongly encourage in-person attendance.
Meeting ID: 341 870 178 571
For any enquiries please contact the team.
5 December 2023
7 December 2023
14 December 2023