The Role of Symbols in International Exchange

Although international exchanges have been a mainstay in public diplomacy since their inception—and academic discussions regarding exchanges have been commonplace—these discussions have traditionally been based on what Andreas Pacher terms the "opinion leader-model."

Thus, Pacher proposes a different model for examining exchanges: Interaction Ritual Theory.

"[I]nternational exchanges are rituals which strategically immerse targeted individuals into personal experiences with a shared focus on the host country, transforming the latter into a symbol charged with emotional energy," writes Pacher. "The symbol is then recurrently invoked to re-circulate through the networks of the participants."

The article, "The Ritual Creation of Political Symbols: International Exchanges in Public Diplomacy" is available here.

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