The interplay between nationalism and public diplomacy: Examining nationalist publics’ communicative behaviors during an international dispute

Original Article


Nationalism is an ideology commonly shared amongst members of a nation who feel that their nation is superior and should dominate others; thus, it could be detrimental to the purpose of public diplomacy to promote mutual understanding between nations. To better understand the interplay between nationalism and public diplomacy, this study examines the causes, expressions, and consequences of nationalism. Using the situational theory of problem solving (STOPS) as an analytical framework, a case study is conducted to examine the association between the extent of news coverage and online discussions surrounding a territorial dispute between the Chinese and Japanese Governments. Several findings are made, including that: (a) there is a positive relationship between the amount of news coverage and online discussions surrounding the dispute, (b) nationalist publics interpreted the international dispute as affecting them personally (i.e., displaying international issue personalization effects), and (c) nationalist publics proposed using collective approaches to cope with the dispute. Implications of the findings for public diplomacy are discussed.


Communicative behaviors Nationalism Public diplomacy Situational theory of problem solving 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Advertising, Marketing and Public RelationsQueensland University of Technology (QUT)BrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Brian Lamb School of CommunicationPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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