© 2016

British Public Diplomacy and Soft Power

Diplomatic Influence and the Digital Revolution


  • Offers the first recent history of UK public diplomacy

  • Explains changes to policy by tracing explanatory factors such as shifting discourses, external world events, and funding and technology

  • Presents a wealth of original new data and off-the-record insight from interviews about a topic of growing interest


Part of the Studies in Diplomacy and International Relations book series (SID)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. James Pamment
    Pages 1-23
  3. James Pamment
    Pages 25-62
  4. James Pamment
    Pages 63-94
  5. James Pamment
    Pages 95-130
  6. James Pamment
    Pages 131-158
  7. James Pamment
    Pages 159-186
  8. James Pamment
    Pages 187-229
  9. James Pamment
    Pages 231-242
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 243-247

About this book


This volume outlines two decades of reforms at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), British Council and BBC World Service – the so-called Public Diplomacy Partners. Between 1995 and 2015, the FCO and its partner organisations in promoting British influence abroad have introduced major changes to how, where and with whom diplomacy is conducted. This unique study links major organisational reforms to the changing political, technological and intellectual contexts of the day. Through detailed case studies over a 20-year period, this study demonstrates how and why British diplomacy evolved from a secretive institution to one understanding its purpose as a global thought leader through concepts such as public diplomacy, digital diplomacy and soft power. It is rich with unpublished documents and case studies, and is the most detailed study of the FCO and British Council in the contemporary period. From Cool Britannia to the recent GREAT campaign via the 2012 Olympics and diplomats on Twitter, this book charts the theory and practice behind a 21st century revolution in British diplomacy. This work will be of much interest to policymakers and advisors, students and researchers, and foreign policy and communication specialists.


British Public Diplomacy British Public Strategy Diplomatic Influence Digital Revolution Diplomacy International Relations Public Diplomacy Foreign and Commonwealth Office UK Public Diplomacy International Politics Theory of Change Soft Power Targeted National Promotion Strategic Campaigns

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Strategic CommunicationLund UniversityHelsingborgSweden

About the authors

James Pamment (PhD Stockholm University, 2011) is a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Communication at Lund University, Sweden. His research addresses issues related to strategic communication, diplomacy and international development. He is author of ‘New Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century’ (Routledge) and editor of 'Public Diplomacy & Development Communication: An Emerging Field of Study' (CPD Perspectives Series), as well as over 20 articles and chapters in major international academic journals and academic books.

Bibliographic information


“This book will be a welcome addition to the shelves of public diplomacy researchers and practitioners and an important contribution to our understanding of the intricacies of modern diplomatic practice.” (Galina A. Nelaeva, Acta Politica, Vol. 54, 2019)