Branding Korea as “My Friend’s Country”: The Case of VANK’s Cyber Public Diplomats
Kadir Ayhan, Ph.D.
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
The role of non-state actors in public diplomacy remains an unsettled question in the literature. However, various transnational activities of non-state actors are often called public diplomacy, without discrimination. The lack of empirical studies on non-state public diplomacy is to blame for this conceptual confusion. Analytical and empirical studies of non-state public diplomacy are needed to consolidate this phenomenon, which is relatively new, while maintaining the conceptual clarity of public diplomacy. This study explores how Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK), a Korean NGO, conducts public diplomacy and nation branding of Korea based on its members’ relationships with foreigners. To gain an in-depth understanding of VANK’s activities from the perspectives of public diplomacy and nation branding, this study follows an exploratory single case study method. The findings of this article suggest how VANK and similar non-state actors offer potential for public diplomacy and nation branding that can be utilized also by state agencies.
Keywords: public diplomacy, nation branding, cyber public diplomacy, non-state actors, relationship management
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
Public diplomacy (PD) lacks an agreed-upon definition and boundaries. The ambiguity surrounding the nature of conceptualization of the term leads to confusion among scholars and practitioners and hinders the consolidation of PD as an academic field. This article surveys 160 articles and books on PD and categorizes diverse perspectives into a taxonomy and explores the coherence of each: State-Centric Perspectives, Neo-Statist Perspectives, Nontraditional Perspectives, Society-Centric Perspectives and Accommodative Perspectives. The article maps the boundaries of public diplomacy with much-needed clear and coherent criteria and positions PD within the broader discipline of International Relations (IR).
Keywords: public diplomacy, non-state actors, taxonomy, diplomacy studies, international relations theories
Co-edited the book by Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (한국보건사회연구원) on social policies and social integration in Turkey.
Available here: https://www.kyobobook.co.kr/product/detailViewKor.laf?mallGb=KOR&ejkGb=KOR&barcode=9788981879624
East Asia is becoming a more connected region. The emerging connectedness is driven by informal regionalization processes. In East Asia where historical animosities and territorial problems have disrupted interstate and inter-societal transactions and communications, corporations and people have increased their intraregional interactions. An under-researched area of East Asian regionalization is the nexus between intraregional flows of popular culture and increasing regional interactions. This research project studies the contributions made by the consumption of pop culture products to East Asian regionalization in two dimensions: social and economic. In both dimensions, pop culture products have provided the grounds for more interactions, which have contributed to the emerging regionalization of East Asia. The intraregional flows of Korean pop culture products and their role in increasing social and economic interactions between Korea and other countries in the region are analyzed as part of the East Asian regionalization processes. In the social dimension, pop culture products
brought to light commonalities based on the interactions between societies that have some level of cultural similarities and similar modernization experiences. Furthermore, pop culture products have provided East Asian peoples with opportunities to meet and encounter the ‘others’ in the geographic proximity, and in turn, create new (often better and less conspicuous) images of the ‘others,’ who are in this case Koreans. In the economic dimension, trends in the spread of East Asian pop culture products, including Korean products, point to an emergence of a regional market for East Asian stars and pop culture products.
Key Words: East Asia, regionalization, popular culture, Korean Wave, globalization, cultural proximity.
Lee, G., & Ayhan, K. (2015). Why Do We Need Non-state Actors in Public Diplomacy?: Theoretical Discussion of Relational, Networked and Collaborative Public Diplomacy. Journal of International and Area Studies, 23(1), 57-77.
As a consequence of changing domestic and international socio-political environment, public diplomacy policies require relational, networked and collaborative approaches for more effective and long-term outcomes. This article explores the relevance of non-state actors to public diplomacy and suggests why and how collaboration takes place between state and non-state actors. Furthermore, the article develops a typology of collaboration between state and non-state actors for public diplomacy initiatives based on two dimensions: whose objectives are prioritized in the collaboration and who proposes collaboration. The article suggests that non-state actors’ potential for public diplomacy can be tapped by state when state approaches non-state actors for collaboration as well as opening its channels for collaboration opportunities coming from non-state actors.
Keywords: public diplomacy, non-state actors, public relations, social networks, collaboration