This article explores persuasive applications of humour in public diplomacy. I propose a new concept of strategic humour – the use of humour by state and proxy actors to promote instrumental interpretations of contested international events to foreign and domestic publics. Through strategic humour, states frame events in ways that advance their interests, deflect external criticism, and challenge narratives of other actors. In an entertaining form, strategic humour delivers a serious message that is simple, accessible, memorable, suited to the new media ecologies, and competitive in capturing news media and public attention. I focus on Russia as a state recently involved in a range of major controversies and demonstrate its use of strategic humour in three case studies. I argue that strategic humour is a fast-emerging, multi-format tool in public diplomacy, facilitated by the rise of social media and post-truth politics and less dependent on the state’s broader power resources.
Chernobrov, D. (2022). Strategic humour: Public diplomacy and comic framing of foreign policy issues. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 24(2), 277–296. https://doi.org/10.1177/13691481211023958
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