In this 2009 book, Paul Sharp argues that we can identify a distinct diplomatic tradition of international thought derived from the unique position diplomats occupy between the groups in which we live. This tradition sheds new insights on big questions about international systems and societies and suggests innovative ways of handling contemporary international issues.
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'This is a wise, humane, and fascinating account of diplomacy as a philosophy of conduct intended to enable peaceful relations between collectivities in a pluralistic world. Skeptical of grand claims and human perfectibility, diplomats seek to accommodate human differences by preferring live-and-let-live arrangements to definitive solutions. Paul Sharp has written a beautifully crafted book in the grand tradition of the English School, full of profound insights into the realities of international relations, that deserves to become a modern classic.' Raymond Cohen, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Boston College
'In any field of endeavour there are those widely acknowledged to be master practitioners, whose work not only exhibits the highest standard but who are continually pushing the boundaries. In the study of diplomacy, Paul Sharp is certainly one who comes immediately to mind, and this wise book is a case in point. Sharp reflects upon the diplomatic tradition, how it has been viewed by other traditions of international thought, and how 'thinking diplomatically' can help us understand key dynamics of international societies and also wrestle with thorny international issues.' Yale H. Ferguson, Rutgers University, Newark
'The need for diplomacy in world politics has never been greater and nor has the need for a theoretical perspective that allows us to make sense of what diplomacy is all about. Paul Sharp has done us the immense service of demonstrating the existence of a long diplomatic tradition of thought, and in doing so, revealing the origins, history and essence of diplomacy as well as the role it needs to play in the 21st century. This book takes English School thinking about diplomacy to a new level of sophistication. It is a real tour de force.' Richard Little, University of Bristol
'… original and stimulating … is to be commended for seeking out the common ground between the seemingly irreconcilable intellectual universes of diplomatic practice and contemporary studies on international relations.' Survival
'… an exquisite style … This book will be considered necessary reading for some time to come for the international relations specialist considering the concept of diplomacy. … Highly recommended.' S. R. Silverburg, Choice
Paul Sharp is Professor and Head of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
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