Diplomacy is no longer restricted to a single vocation nor implemented exclusively through interaction amongst official representatives. In exploring the challenges that these transformations produce, this work surveys firstly, the genealogy of diplomacy as a profession, tracing how it changed from a civic duty into a vocation requiring training and the acquisition of specific knowledge and skills. Secondly, using the lens of the sociology of professions, the development of diplomacy as a distinctive profession is examined, including its importance for the consolidation of the power of modern nation-states. Thirdly, it examines how the landscape of professional diplomacy is being diversified and, we argue, enriched by a series of non-state actors, with their corresponding professionals, transforming the phenomenology of contemporary diplomacy. Rather than seeing this pluralization of diplomatic actors in negative terms as the deprofessionalization of diplomacy, we frame these trends as transprofessionalization, that is, as a productive development that reflects the expanded diplomatic space and the intensified pace of global interconnections and networks, and the new possibilities they unleash for practising diplomacy in different milieus.
Costas M. Constantinou is Professor of International Relations at the University of Cyprus. His research focuses on diplomacy, conflict, and international legal and political theory. He has published many books and articles, including the recently coedited The Handbook of Diplomacy (2016).
Noe Cornago is Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). His research focuses on the transformations of diplomacy, global law making and aesthetics and politics. He is the author of Plural Diplomacies: Normative Predicaments and Functional Imperatives (Brill, 2013).
Fiona McConnell is Associate Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on statecraft, sovereignty and diplomacy in the margins of the interstate community, with her 2016 book Rehearsing the State, focusing on the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.