Washington goes Pop, or Public Diplomacy à la Americaine

What is the connection between art and diplomacy?
What do museums and embassies have in common?

These are the two research questions that I ask in my PhD thesis. In my work I trace the evolution of the concepts of ‘(new) public diplomacy’ and ‘cultural diplomacy’ as applied to the U.S. foreign policy discourse from the 1960-s till today’s time. I argue that American Pop Art has historically been used by the U.S. political elites as a diplomatic instrument. This usage took two forms: either the form of public diplomacy (to show the ideological value of Pop Art) or the form of cultural diplomacy (to demonstrate the cultural value of Pop Art). My thesis examines both forms of interaction between American Pop Art and U.S. foreign policy and concludes that such a dual relationship has secured American ‘soft power’ abroad and contributed to strengthening U.S. leadership worldwide. I employ a variety of research methods, such as network analysis, process tracing and comparison. On the whole, the thesis follows the logic of Sociology of International Relations, thus defining the state and non-state actors involved in the above-mentioned process of interaction, as well as their instruments, their objectives and their power. The aim of my research is to highlight the role of cultural industries in U.S. foreign policy in general and to show the importance of visual arts to U.S. diplomatic milieu in particular.


Andy Warhol and Jimmy Carter in 1977.


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