Conceptualisation of grassroots public diplomacy in Australia and China
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 10:33 authored by Hongyu Ye
The term Public Diplomacy (PD) has many definitions, most of which associate it with the state. Recently civil society has been drawn into definitions of PD but is often viewed as audience rather than actor. Whether related to citizens or civil society, PD has not been adequately theorised and therefore this project develops it conceptually under the rubric of "grassroots public diplomacy" (GPD), it does so by comparing its conceptualisation and practice in Australia and China where approaches are dissimilar. The thesis establishes similarities and differences in GPD conceptualisation in the two countries by comparing the data collected by means of semi-structured interviews of experts and practitioners in this field in Australia and China respectively, as well as documentary data related to the concept. A salient characteristic of what has been called GPD here is that it will have a recognisable dialogic approach. Therefore a key question that is answered is whether a dialogic approach was adopted in the processes employed in the case that was studied – and how the dialogic approach manifested itself. The case study employed semi-structured interviews of organisers, speakers, sponsors and randomly selected participants, as well as participant observation and relevant online data. Drawing on Habermas' communicative action theory, the sets of data were analysed using the method of qualitative content analysis. Broad findings suggest that GPD in Australia and China both consist of actors, aims, plans of action, communication acts, coordination, agreement, processes and results. There are both similarities and differences that the study has identified between the conceptualisation of CPD in the two states. The inclusion of a dialogic approach is also confirmed in the case study, in process segments identified as three interconnected phases of 'first', 'following' and 'further' interactions.