Modern Diplomatic Service as a Reflexive Institution

Modern Diplomatic Service as a Reflexive Institution

Litvak N.V.,

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University), MFA of Russia.,

elibrary_id: 655516 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2018.02.12

For citation:

Litvak N.V. Modern Diplomatic Service as a Reflexive Institution. – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No. 2. P. 163-172. (In Russ.).


The article provides a substantiation of diplomatic service as a reflective institution. Since the mid-1980s, the attention of researchers has increasingly concentrated on such new features of modern society as institutional and individual reflexivity, which permits to speak about the formation of reflexive modernity that has replaced the industrial modernity. This new state of society is characterized by accelerating and increasing of social and cultural dynamics, which qualitatively change the functionality of structures and people’s activities. Accordingly, a reflexive sociology emerged with a new theoretical and methodological means that entailed ‘rediscovery’ of the realities of the information society, the nature of communications, international relations, and diplomatic service. The modern (in the context of the information society, electronic media and communication, networked in its organization, ‘liquid’ stage) diplomatic service is turning into a reflexive socio-political institution. The activity of the diplomatic service is reflexive information and communication process carried out by the system of specialized bodies (ministry of foreign affairs and its overseas missions) for the implementation of foreign-policy tasks set by top political leadership of the country, on the basis of general public interest, by specific diplomatic means. Diplomats also acquire a reflexive nature. Being initially individuals who receive strict instructions from central office, they turn into diplomatic agents, whose essence of activity is now primarily the reflection of different cultures and interests, the search and harmonization of joint, compromised, mutually acceptable positions and actions. In addition to reflecting the environment, in which the modern diplomatic service operates, the self-reflection of the diplomatic community, the self-change of its specific socio-professional characteristics, have great importance for the effectiveness of its activities. The author observes the most distinctly institutionalized reflections focusing at the case of the diplomatic service of France, which is the precursor of and, in many respects, still stays the model for the diplomatic services of other states.

diplomatic service; reflexive institution; reflection; self-reflection; diplomatic agents; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France.


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Content No. 2, 2018

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