After some delay, Diplomacy and Ideology: From the French Revolution to the Digital Age is now available from Routledge in physical form. The book treats the concept and history of diplomacy. Taking as a starting point the prevalent ideas that diplomacy either is an inherent and inescapable trait of human society or a practice that evolved in tandem with the modern nation state, this book argues that diplomacy proper emerged in and through the French Revolution. Furthermore, by following the evolution of diplomacy from the glorious Revolution to our digital era, the book also argues that this event also came to mark three of diplomacy’s most fundamental problems: its ambiguous name, its impending death, and the failure of representation.
The book is divided into four thematic parts. The first presents the central concepts and theoretical perspectives derived from the work of Slavoj Žižek, focusing on his understanding of politics, ideology, and the core of the conceptual apparatus of Lacanian psychoanalysis. There then follow three parts treating diplomacy as archi-politics, ultra-politics, and post-politics, respectively highlighting three eras of the modern history of diplomacy from the French Revolution until today. The first part takes on the question of the creation of the term ‘diplomacy’, which took place during the time of the French Revolution. The second part begins with the effects on diplomacy arising from the horrors of the two World Wars. Finally, the third part covers another major shift in Western diplomacy during the last century, the fall of the Soviet Union, and how this transformation shows itself in the field of Diplomacy Studies. The book argues that diplomacy’s primary task is not to be understood as negotiating peace between warring parties, but rather to reproduce the myth of the state’s unity by repressing its fundamental inconsistencies.