Dr Stefan Groth

Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Research Project at the Centre

Culture as Resource and Diplomacy: Between Geopolitics and Issues-Based Policy

In the last couple of decades, there has been a steady increase of international negotiations on culture as a resource, transforming the modalities and possibilities of cooperation in diplomacy. States as well as civil society organizations and indigenous groups have put significant effort in re-adjusting their policies to be compatible with this shift towards a perception of culture as a resource. It has, both in terms of strategy and content, gained considerable importance in international negotiations, influencing modalities of global cooperation. As a distinct concept besides other factors of geopolitics, culture as a resource in diplomacy creates contingencies for building new collaborations in international and bilateral relations. It has the potential to facilitate issues-based policies rather than reproducing geopolitical dichotomies, e.g. between the Global North and the Global South. This includes the partial culturalization of discourse in diplomacy fosters and requires communicative framings of issues as specifically cultural and distinct from other issues, including the explication of normative stances towards cultural resources.

By taking into account the performative and linguistic-pragmatic dimension of international negotiations in addition to structural aspects, the project aims at understanding the influence that culture as a resource has in diplomatic settings. It will look at the communicative framing of strategies and positions in negotiations on cultural resources, and analyze situations where they are able to transcend conventional divisions in diplomacy to arrive at issues-based cooperations between states, and between states and civil society organizations. It asks for the ways in which cultural resources are framed as part of diplomatic procedure and issues. The project's aim is to make the processes of constructing, negotiating, defining and legitimizing positions on cultural resources transparent, both on a structural and on a discursive level.


June 2014 – May 2015