Jason Dittmer’s new book, Diplomatic Material: Affect, Assemblage, and Foreign Policy is out with Duke University Press.
In Diplomatic Material Jason Dittmer offers a counterintuitive reading of foreign policy by tracing the ways that complex interactions between people and things shape the decisions and actions of diplomats and policymakers. Bringing new materialism to bear on international relations, Dittmer focuses not on what the state does in the world but on how the world operates within the state through the circulation of humans and nonhuman objects. From examining how paper storage needs impacted the design of the British Foreign Office Building to discussing the 1953 NATO decision to adopt the .30 caliber bullet as the standard rifle ammunition, Dittmer highlights the contingency of human agency within international relations. In Dittmer’s model, which eschews stasis, structural forces, and historical trends in favor of dynamism and becoming, the international community is less a coming-together of states than it is a convergence of media, things, people, and practices. In this way, Dittmer locates power in the unfolding of processes on the micro level, thereby reconceptualizing our understandings of diplomacy and international relations.
- “Working at the rich interface of social theory and international relations theory, Jason Dittmer provides a novel and important rereading of diplomatic practice, demonstrating how diplomacy and international relations are profoundly influenced by material and bodily contexts. Diplomatic Material speaks to pressing debates in social theory and international relations, making this important book one of the best in its field.” — Mark B. Salter, editor of, Making Things International 1 and Making Things International 2
“Jason Dittmer innovatively combines multiple literatures and empirical cases to render familiar issues in novel ways. His engaging writing makes the work accessible to undergraduates. Diplomatic Material will be of interest to those working in diplomacy, assemblage theory, and more-than-human approaches in political geography and international relations.” — Merje Kuus, author of, Geopolitics and Expertise: Knowledge and Authority in European Diplomacy