Who Are They and Where Do They Come From?
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book is a historically informed ethnography of diplomacy which asks what diplomats do and how they came to do it. It demonstrates that today's organization of diplomacy, centered as it is on foreign ministries with staff usually numbered in the thousands, is a very recent and historically specific phenomenon. It also complements the sparse extant literature by bringing anthropology and international relations to bear on the quotidian work of diplomats. The remainder of the chapter discusses how the field of diplomacy radically differs from the widespread stereotypes that shape newspaper reports, popular culture, and the opinions of social scientists who have no personal experience with diplomats and diplomacy. It further describes some of the author's experiences as a diplomat.
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