The rhetoric of public diplomacy and propaganda wars: A view from self-presentation theory

Author: Ben D. Mor,
Date: 2007
File: PDF
Efforts by governments to affect foreign public opinion through direct communication – and in competition with rival governments – have been a stable and consistent feature of international diplomacy since the turn of the twentieth century.

Yet public diplomacy and its use in propaganda wars has not been sufficiently theorized, a lacuna that this article seeks to address by means of the social-psychological theory of self-presentation and impression management. The discussion suggests that public diplomacy is a form of self-presentation for social empowerment, in which rhetorical strategies and associated tactics are means of addressing image predicaments in foreign public opinion. The analysis is illustrated by means of the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its presentation in the official websites of the parties.