Elsa Hedling

Elsa Hedling


Elsa Hedling

Storytelling in EU public diplomacy : reputation management and recognition of success


  • Elsa Hedling

Summary, in English

This article draws attention to storytelling in public diplomacy. Based on interviews with officials in the European External Action Service (EEAS) and a campaign on social media, it explores storytelling in EU public diplomacy. It treats storytell-ing as narrative strategies that tap into the power of dramaturgy and visual elements to mediate emotions and identity in international politics. This understanding of storytelling is discussed in relation to three interrelated bodies of literature of relevance to the digitalization of public diplomacy. The study traces how storytelling in the EEAS stems from the norm of engagement, intends for a process of legitimation through techniques of representation, and has the goal of recognition. The analysis illustrates the conceptualization of storytelling focusing on the communication of the European Union’s Global Strategy launched in June 2016. The article finds the role of storytelling to be a result of the perceived new urgency of engaging domestic publics in EU foreign policy. In this context the role of stories to evoke emotions and the opportunities on social media to project these stories, are highly valued.


  • Political Science


  • diplomacy
  • storytelling
  • digital diplomacy
  • visual politics
  • public diplomacy
  • place branding
  • EEAS




  • ISSN: 1751-8059