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Public Diplomacy Rhetoric

Principal Investigator: Ph-J Salazar
Sponsor: NRF, Competitive Programme for Rated Researchers/ Knowledge Fields Development Directorate
Duration: Mid-2010 to mid-2012


The objective of the proposed project is a comparative study of rhetorical and communicative strategies of public diplomacy by mid-size countries that have emerged from a troubled past, and wish to play an international role, while they are attempting to develop a pragmatics of civil deliberation within. Public diplomacy indeed shapes outside perceptions while it shapes in return how a citizenry perceives itself (the notion of "interior state" developed by political rhetorician Christopher Castiglia).

Public diplomacy is a set of what I have called and analyzed, in my book "Hyperpolitique", as "rhetorical technologies" that provide for a terrain to develop an ethical game plan, toward the outside, and toward the inside of a polity. The project intends to compare three similar polities - South Africa, Morocco, Argentina -, that have in common a recent political reassessment based on internal reconciliation, and a wish to project themselves as key regional agents in their own environment.

All three draw on a rich and sustained intellectual debate and tradition on "what is civil deliberation". Public diplomacy plugs directly into public self-perceptions and projections of national ethos. It is more than a tool, it is a far-reaching technology of persuasive self-definition and, ultimately, of national cohesion.

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