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Articulating influence : Toward a research agenda for interpreting the evaluation of soft power, public diplomacy and nation brands

Pamment, James LU (2014) In Public Relations Review 40(1). p.50-59
Abstract

While the terms soft power, public diplomacy (PD) and nation brands have cemented their place in academic discourse during the early 21st century, the evaluation of these activities has not been given anywhere near the same level of attention. When describing how campaigns are evaluated, scholars tend to make assumptions based on the goals or outputs of an initiative rather than on the basis of reliable, empirical data on its results. Strong positivist tendencies within current scholarship usually lead to evaluation being considered in terms of methodology and best practice, typically with the assumption that certain preferred outcomes will be demonstrable if an ideal model is followed. Most significantly, such approaches seem to... (More)

While the terms soft power, public diplomacy (PD) and nation brands have cemented their place in academic discourse during the early 21st century, the evaluation of these activities has not been given anywhere near the same level of attention. When describing how campaigns are evaluated, scholars tend to make assumptions based on the goals or outputs of an initiative rather than on the basis of reliable, empirical data on its results. Strong positivist tendencies within current scholarship usually lead to evaluation being considered in terms of methodology and best practice, typically with the assumption that certain preferred outcomes will be demonstrable if an ideal model is followed. Most significantly, such approaches seem to underplay the interests and objectives that inform and constrain choices surrounding modes of communication and evaluation. I argue here that PD activities are rarely the product of rational choices about communication options, and nor is PD evaluation the result of applying the "best" methodology. Rather, questions of PD and evaluation practices are bound together in complex organizational and power structures that generate pragmatic responses both to the "problem of influence" and the reporting of results. Through use of the concept of articulation, this article outlines a framework for interpreting evaluation practices from a contextualized perspective, which grasps how and why soft power practices assume certain forms.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Evaluation, Nation brands, Public diplomacy, Soft power
in
Public Relations Review
volume
40
issue
1
pages
10 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:84895910070
ISSN
0363-8111
DOI
10.1016/j.pubrev.2013.11.019
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
48df929b-beec-4f48-8d2c-b93fb9eb1b89
date added to LUP
2016-05-03 11:03:02
date last changed
2017-11-12 04:21:20
@article{48df929b-beec-4f48-8d2c-b93fb9eb1b89,
  abstract     = {<p>While the terms soft power, public diplomacy (PD) and nation brands have cemented their place in academic discourse during the early 21st century, the evaluation of these activities has not been given anywhere near the same level of attention. When describing how campaigns are evaluated, scholars tend to make assumptions based on the goals or outputs of an initiative rather than on the basis of reliable, empirical data on its results. Strong positivist tendencies within current scholarship usually lead to evaluation being considered in terms of methodology and best practice, typically with the assumption that certain preferred outcomes will be demonstrable if an ideal model is followed. Most significantly, such approaches seem to underplay the interests and objectives that inform and constrain choices surrounding modes of communication and evaluation. I argue here that PD activities are rarely the product of rational choices about communication options, and nor is PD evaluation the result of applying the "best" methodology. Rather, questions of PD and evaluation practices are bound together in complex organizational and power structures that generate pragmatic responses both to the "problem of influence" and the reporting of results. Through use of the concept of articulation, this article outlines a framework for interpreting evaluation practices from a contextualized perspective, which grasps how and why soft power practices assume certain forms.</p>},
  author       = {Pamment, James},
  issn         = {0363-8111},
  keyword      = {Evaluation,Nation brands,Public diplomacy,Soft power},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {50--59},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Public Relations Review},
  title        = {Articulating influence : Toward a research agenda for interpreting the evaluation of soft power, public diplomacy and nation brands},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2013.11.019},
  volume       = {40},
  year         = {2014},
}