Public Diplomacy Reading List for Students and Researchers

This public diplomacy reading list for students and researchers has been compiled by Oliver Zöllner, professor at Stuttgart Media University in southwest Germany. The list includes essential reading for public diplomacy students and helps public diplomacy researchers stay up to date on latest books, articles and other publications dedicated to the fascinating field of public diplomacy.

Academic writing not your thing? Read this introduction to public diplomacy: what it means and why it matters.


  • Part I: Public diplomacy introduction: overviews, context;
  • Part II: Public diplomacy theory development: further reading;
  • Part III: Public diplomacy case studies;
  • Part IV: Helpful Internet resources.

Public diplomacy introduction: overviews, context

Bjola, Corneliu / Holmes, Marcus (eds.) (2015): Digital diplomacy: Theory and practice. London, New York.

Busch-Janser, Sandra / Florian, Daniel (2010): Die neuen Diplomaten? Public Diplomacy und die Rolle von Kommunikationsagenturen in der Außenpolitik. In: Jens Tenscher / Heike Viehrig (eds.): Politische Kommunikation in internationalen Beziehungen. Münster, 215-233.

Castells, Manuel (2008): The new public sphere: Global civil society, communication networks, and global governance. In: The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 616, No. 1, 78-93.

Deruda, Antonio (2015): The digital diplomacy handbook: How to use social media to engage with global audiences. SelfPub.

Leonard, Mark [with Catherine Stead and Conrad Smewing] (2002): Public diplomacy. London.

McPhail, Thomas L. (2014): Global communication: Theories, stakeholders, and trends. 4th ed. Chichester.

Mihelj, Sabina (2011): Media nations: Communicating belonging and exclusion in the modern world. Basingstoke, New York.

Nye, Joseph S. (2004): Soft power: The means to success in world politics. New York.

Pamment, James (2012): What became of the New Public Diplomacy? Recent developments in British, US and Swedish public diplomacy policy and evaluation methods. In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Vol. 7, No. 3, 313-336.

Pamment, James (2013): New public diplomacy in the 21st century. London, New York.

Rawnsley, Gary D. (2016): Introduction to “International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century”. In: Media and Communication, Vol. 4, No. 2, 42-45. Link

Sandre, Andreas (2015): Digital diplomacy: Conversations on innovation in foreign policy. Lanham.

Sriramesh, Krishnamurthy / Verčič, Dejan (eds.) (2009): The global public relations handbook: Theory, research, and practice. Rev. ed. New York, London.

Thussu, Daya Kishan (2006): International communication: Continuity and change. 2nd ed. London.

Snow, Nancy / Taylor, Philip M. (eds.) (2009): The Routledge handbook of public diplomacy. New York, London.

Zöllner, Oliver (2009): Internationaler Auslandsrundfunk. In: Hans-­Bredow-­Institut (ed.): Internationales Handbuch Medien. 2008/2009. 28. Aufl. Baden-Baden 2009, 175-183.

Public diplomacy theory development: further reading

Anholt, Simon (2006): Public diplomacy and place branding: Where’s the link? In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 2, 271-275.

Anholt, Simon (2011): Beyond the nation brand: The role of image and identity in international relations. In: Journal of Public Diplomacy, Vol. 2, No. 1, 6-12.

Aronczyk, Melissa (2013): Branding the nation: The global business of national identity. Oxford, New York.

Bahrke, Johannes (2010): Auslandsrundfunk als strategisches Mittel europäischer Public Diplomacy im Nahen Osten. In: Tenscher, Jens / Viehrig, Henrike (eds.): Politische Kommunikation in internationalen Beziehungen. Berlin, Münster, 191-214.

Chapple-Sokol, Sam (2013): Culinary diplomacy: Breaking bread to win hearts and minds. In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Vol. 8, No. 2, 161-183.

Cowan, Geoffrey / Arsenault, Amelia (2008): Moving from monologue to dialogue to collaboration: The three layers of public diplomacy. In: The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 616, No. 1, 10-30.

Curtin, Patricia A. / Gaither, T. Kenn (2007): International public relations: Negotiating culture, identity, and power. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi.

Gilboa, Eytan (2000): Mass communication and diplomacy: A theoretical framework. In: Communication Theory, Vol. 10, No. 3, 275-309.

Gilboa, Eytan (2002): Global communication and foreign policy. In: Journal of Communication, Vol. 52, No. 4, 31-748.

Gregory, Bruce (2008): Public diplomacy: Sunrise of an academic field. In: The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 616, 274-290.

Hanna, Sonya / Rowley, Jennifer (2008): An analysis of terminolgy use in place branding. In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 4, 61-75.

Horisberger, Marc (2002): Entstehung und Gestaltung von Nationenimages. Eine theoretische und empirische Analyse staatlicher Imagepflege im Ausland aus kommunikationswissenschaftlicher Perspektive. Diss., Univ. Freiburg (Schweiz).

Kaneva, Nadia (2011): Nation branding: Toward an agenda for critical research. In: International Journal of Communication, Vol. 5, 117-141. Link

Kemming, Jan Dirk / Humborg, Christian (2010): Democracy and nation brand(ing): Friends or foes? In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 6, 183-197.

Kunczik, Michael (1989): Public Relations für Staaten. Die Imagepflege von Nationen als Aspekt der internationalen Kommunikation: Zum Forschungsstand. In: Max Kaase/Winfried Schulz (Hrsg.): Massenkommunikation. Theorien, Methoden, Befunde. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag (= Sonderheft 30 der Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie), 165-184.

Kunczik, Michael (1990): Die manipulierte Meinung. Nationale Image-Politik und internationale Public Relations. Köln.

Kunczik, Michael (2009): Transnational public relations by foreign governments. In: Krishnamurthy Sriramesh / Dejan Verčič (eds.): The global public relations handbook: Theory, research, and practice. Rev. ed. New York, London, 769-794.

Leonard, Mark [with Catherine Stead and Conrad Smewing] (2002): Public diplomacy. London.

Lord, Carnes (2006): Losing hearts and minds? Public diplomacy and strategic influence in the age of terror. Westport, CT.

Maaß, Kurt-Jürgen (Hrsg.) (2005): Kultur und Außenpolitik. Handbuch für Studium und Praxis. Baden-Baden.

Mark, Simon (2008): A comparative study of the cultural diplomacy of Canada, New Zealand and India. Thesis (PhD), University of Auckland. Link

O’Shaughnessy, John / O’Shaughnessy, Nicholas Jackson (2000): Treating the nation as a brand: Some neglected issues. In: Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 20, No. 1, 56-64.

Pamment, James (2013): Articulating influence: Toward a research agenda for interpreting the evaluation of soft power, public diplomacy and nation brands. In: Public Relations Review, Vol. 40, No. 1, 50-59.

Pamment, James (2015): Media influence, ontological transformation, and social change: Conceptual overlaps between development communication and public diplomacy. In: Communication Theory, Vol. 25, No.2, 188-207.

Rasmussen, Rasmus Kjærgaard / Merkelsen, Henrik (2012): The new PR of states: How nation branding practices affect the security function of public diplomacy. In: Public Relations Review, Vol. 38, No. 5, 810-818.

Rockower, Paul S. (2012): Recipes for gastrodiplomacy. In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1-12.

Schwan, Anna (2011): Werbung statt Waffen. Wie strategische Außenkommunikation die Außenpolitik verändert. Wiesbaden.

Seib, Philip (2009): Public diplomacy and journalism: Parallels, ethical issues, and practical concerns. In: American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 52, No. 2, 772-786.

Signitzer, Benno (2008): Public relations and public diplomacy: Some conceptual explorations. In: Zerfaß, Ansgar / van Ruler, Betteke / Sriramesh, Krishnamurthy (eds.): Public relations research: European and international perspectives and innovations. Wiesbaden, 205-218.

Skinner, Heather / Kubacki, Krzysztof (2007): Unravelling the complex relationship between nationhood, national and cultural identity, and place branding. In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 3, 305-316.

Srugies, Alice (2013): Comparative public diplomacy research: Potentials, challenges, implications. In: Diana Ingenhoff (ed.): Internationale PR-Forschung. Konstanz, München, 229-260.

Stiehl, Tim (2011): Public Diplomacy gleich Nation Branding? Eine theoretische Abgrenzung zweier Konzepte zur Außendarstellung von Staaten. Saarbrücken [eBook].

Szondi, György (2008): Public diplomacy and nation branding: Conceptual similarities and differences. The Hague. Link

Van Dyke, Mark A. / Verčič, Dejan (2009): Public relations, public diplomacy, and strategic communication: An international model of conceptual convergence. In: Sriramesh, Krishnamurthy / Verčič, Dejan (eds.): The global public relations handbook: Theory, research, and practice. Rev. ed. New York, London, 906-928.

van Ham, Peter (2001): The rise of the brand state: The postmodern politics of image and reputation. In: Foreign Affairs, Vol. 80, No. 5, 2–6.

Wang, Jay (2006): Public diplomacy and global business. In: Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 27, No. 3, 41-49.

White, Candace / Radic, Danijela (2014): Comparative public diplomacy: Message strategies of countries in transition. In: Public Relations Review, Vol. 40, No. 3, 459- 465.

Yang, Aimei / Klyueva, Anna / Taylor, Maureen (2012): Beyond a dyadic approach to public diplomacy: Understanding relationships in a multipolar world. In: Public Relations Review, Vol. 38, No. 5, 652-664.

Public diplomacy case studies


Anholt, Simon (2007): ‘Brand Europe’ – Where next? In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 3, 115-119.

Auer, Claudia / Srugies, Alice (2013): Public diplomacy in Germany. CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy, Paper 5. Link

Aveline, Julie (2006): Branding Europe? Branding, design and post-national loyalties. In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 2, 334-340.

Avgerinos, Katherine P. (2009): Russia’s public diplomacy effort: What the Kremlin is doing and why it’s not working. In: Journal of Public and International Affairs, Vol. 20, 115-132.

Brünner, Thomas (2011): Public Diplomacy im Westen. Die Presseagentur Panorama DDR informiert das Ausland. Frankfurt am Main.

Claver Ruiz, María (2015): Explaining Spain’s Casas: An instrument of networked public diplomacy. In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Vol. 10, No. 2, 215-224.

Davis Cross, Mai’a K. / Melissen, Jan (eds.) (2013): European public diplomacy: Soft power at work. Basingstoke, New York.

Heller, Steven (2008): Iron fists: Branding the 20th-century totalitarian state. London, Berlin.

Jansen, Sue Curry (2008): Designer nations: Neo-liberal nation branding – Brand Estonia. In: Social Identities, Vol. 14, No. 1, 121-142.

Kaneva, Nadia (ed.) (2012): Branding post-communist nations: Marketizing national identities in the “new” Europe. New York, London.

Kaneva, Nadia / Popescu, Delia (2014): “We are Romanian, not Roma”: Nation branding and postsocialist discourses of alterity. In: Communication, Culture and Critique, Vol. 7, No. 4, 506-523.

Kemming, Jan Dirk (2009): Nation brand management in political contexts: Public diplomacy for Turkey’s EU accession. Diss., Univ. Gießen.

Kemming, Jan Dirk / Sandikci, Özlem (2007): Turkey’s EU accession as a question of nation brand image. In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 3, 31-41.

Litvinsky, Marina (2011): European Union public diplomacy: The need for a new frame. Saarbrücken.

Martinović, Stjepo (2002): Branding Hrvatska – a mixed blessing that might succeed: The advantage of being unrecognisable. In: Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 9, No. 4-5, 315-322.

Ostrowski, Daniel (2010): Die Public Diplomacy der deutschen Auslandsvertretungen weltweit. Theorie und Praxis der deutschen Auslandsöffentlichkeitsarbeit. Wiesbaden.

Rius Ulldemolins, Joaquium / Martín Zamorano, Mariano (2015): Spain’s nation branding project Marca España and its cultural policy: The economic and political instrumentalization of a homogeneous and simplified cultural image. In: International Journal of Cultural Policy, Vol. 21, No. 1, 20-40.

Simons, Greg (2014): Russian public diplomacy in the 21st century: Structure, means and message. In: Public Relations Review, Vol. 40, No. 3, 440-449.

Sudjic, Deyan (2006): The edifice complex: How the rich and powerful shape the world. London. [Chapter 6: Inventing a nation, 155-188].

Surowiec, Paweł (2017): Nation branding, public relations and soft power: Corporatising Poland. London, New York.

Swedish Institute (2009): Brand Sweden: The road to an updated image of Sweden abroad. Stockholm: Swedish Institute. Link

Szondi, György (2007): The role and challenges of country branding in transition countries: The Central and Eastern European experience. In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 3, 8-20.

Zöllner, Oliver (2006): A quest for dialogue in international broadcasting: Germany’s public diplomacy targeting Arab audiences. In: Global Media and Communication, Vol. 2, No. 2, 160-182.

Zöllner, Oliver (2009): German public diplomacy: The dialogue of cultures. In: Snow, Nancy / Taylor, Philip M. (eds.): Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy. New York, London, 262-269.


Bayles, Martha (2014): Through a screen darkly: Popular culture, public diplomacy, and America’s image abroad. New Haven, CT.

Djerejian, Edward P. (2003): Changing minds, winning peace: A new strategic directive for U.S. public diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim world. Report of the advisory group on public diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim world, U.S. House of Representatives.

Elter, Andreas (2008): Auswärtige Kulturpolitik und Propaganda in den USA. In: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Heft 11, S. 32-38. Link

Fullerton, Jami et al. (2007): Attitudes towards American brands and Brand America. In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 3, 205-212.

Garbacz Rawson, Elizabeth A. (2007): Perceptions of the United States of America: Exploring the political brand of a nation. In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 3, 213-221.

Huijgh, Ellen (2013): The ebbs and flows of Canada’s public diplomacy with a domestic foundation. In: International Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 47, No. 1, 147-169.

Jäger, Thomas / Viehrig, Henrike (eds.) (2008): Die amerikanische Regierung gegen die Weltöffentlichkeit? Theoretische und empirische Analysen der Public Diplomacy zum Irakkrieg. Wiesbaden.

Manheim, Jarol B. (1994): Strategic public diplomacy and American foreign policy. New York.

Morrison, Matthew B. (2012): U.S. public diplomacy: Background and current issues. New York.

Niesing, Eva (2013): Latin America’s potential in nation branding: A closer look at Brazil’s, Chile’s and Colombia’s practices. Hamburg.

Potter, Evan (2003): Canada and the new public diplomacy. In: International Journal, Vol. 58, No. 1, 43-64.

Servaes, Jan (2012): Soft power and public diplomacy: The new frontier for public relations and international communication between the US and China. In: Public Relations Review, Vol. 38, No. 5, 643-651.

Sinha Roy, Ishita (2007): Worlds apart: Nation-branding on the National Geographic Channel. In: Media, Culture and Society, Vol. 29, No. 4, 569-592.

U.S. Department of State (2000): Consolidation of USIA into the State Department: An assessment after one year. Collingdale.

Asia, Australia and Oceania

Agawa, Naoyuki (2008): Japan does soft power: Strategy and effectiveness of its public diplomacy in the United States. In: Yasushi Watanabe / David L. McConnel (eds.): Soft power superpowers: Cultural and national assets of Japan and the United States. New York, 224-241.

Berkowitz, Pere et al. (2007): Brand China: Using the 2008 Olympic Games to enhance China’s image. In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 3, 164-178.

Broinowski, Alison (2012): Soft power, smart power or public diplomacy? Australia fumbles. In: Global Asia, Vol. 7, No. 3, 41-45. Link

Byrne, Caitlin / Hall, Rebecca (2011): Australia’s international education as public diplomacy: Soft power potential. In: Discussion Papers In Diplomacy, Netherlands Institute Of International Relations ‘Clingendael’ and Antwerp University, No 121.

Chang, Tsan-Kuo / Lin, Fen (2014): From propaganda to public diplomacy: Assessing China’s international practice and its image, 1950–2009. In: Public Relations Review, Vol. 40, No. 3, 450-458.

Chen, Ni (2012): Branding national images: The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. In: Public Relations Review, Vol. 38, issue 5, 731-745.

Cooper Ramo, Joshua (2007): Brand China. London.

D’Hooghe, Ingrid (2007): The rise of China’s public diplomacy. The Hague.

Finlay, Christopher J. / Xin, Xin (2010): Public diplomacy games: A comparative study of American and Japanese responses to the interplay of nationalism, ideology and Chinese soft power strategies around the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In: Sport in Society, Vol. 13, No. 5, 876-900.

Fleischer, Florian / Füser, Katharina / Isermeyer, Johanna (2014): Israelische Public Diplomacy und ihre Wahrnehmung durch deutsche Journalisten. In: Global Media Journal (German Edition), Vol. 4, No. 1.

Fullerton, Jami et al. (2008): Brand Borat? Americans’ reaction to a Kazakhstani place branding campaign. In: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 4, 159-168.

Hahn, Oliver (2008): Arabische Öffentlichkeit und Satellitenrundfunk. In: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Heft 11, S. 26-31. Link

Hartig, Falk (2012): Cultural diplomacy with Chinese characteristics: The case of Confucius Institutes in Australia. In: Communication, Politics & Culture, Vol. 45, 256-276. Link

Hartig, Falk (2013): Panda Diplomacy: The cutest part of China’s public diplomacy. In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Vol. 8, No. 1, 49-78.

Hartig, Falk (2016): Chinese public diplomacy: The rise of the Confucius Institutes. London, New York.

Koh, Buck Song (2011): Brand Singapore: How nation branding built Asia’s leading global city. Singapore.

Kluver, Randolph (2014): The sage as strategy: Nodes, networks, and the quest for geopolitical power in the Confucius Institute. In: Communication, Culture & Critique, Vol. 7, No. 2, 192-209.

Loo, Theresa / Davies, Gary (2006): Branding China: The ultimate challenge in reputation management? In: Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 9, 198-210.

Melki, Jad / Jabado, May (2016): Mediated public diplomacy of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: The synergistic use of terrorism, social media and branding. In: Media and Communication, Vol. 4, No. 2, 92-103. Link

McGray, Douglas (2002): Japan’s gross national cool. In: Foreign Policy, No. 130 (May/June), 44-54.

Park, Se Jung / Lim, Yon Soo (2014): Information networks and social media use in public diplomacy: A comparative analysis of South Korea and Japan. In: Asian Journal of Communication, Vol. 24, No. 1, 79-98.

Sun, Wanning (2014): Mediatization with Chinese characteristics: Political legitimacy, public diplomacy and the new art of propaganda. In: Knut Lundby (ed.): Berlin, Boston, 87-105.

Thussu, Daya Kishan (2013): Communicating India’s soft power: Buddha to Bollywood. Basingstoke, New York.


Jacob, Udo-Udo Jacob (2016): Target Gutahuka: The UN’s strategic information intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In: Media and Communication, Vol. 4, No. 2, 104-119. Link

Fiedler, Anke / Frère, Marie-Soleil (2016): “Radio France Internationale” and “Deutsche Welle” in Francophone Africa: International broadcasters in a time of change. In: Communication, Culture and Critique, Vol. 9, No. 1, 68-85.

Murai, Yasuko (2011): ‘Alive with Possibility’: Brand South Africa and the discursive construction of South African national identity. MSc dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Online resources

This public diplomacy reading list was republished with permission. Original version here.