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Servants of Diplomacy: The Making of Swedish Diplomats, 1905-1995
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

From the dissolution of Sweden’s Union with Norway in 1905 until the country’s membership in the European Union in 1995, diplomats in Sweden underwent a number of reforms that aimed to create a professionally recruited and capable cadre of civil servants, serving Swedish diplomacy. The purpose of the dissertation is to analyze the shaping of Swedish diplomats in the twentieth century.

Empirically the analysis focuses on how the Swedish state envisioned diplomats to be, how applicants in practice were recruited and trained by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and how the diplomats themselves presented their positions. By studying government commission reports, statutes issued on the admission of diplomats, material relating to their recruitment and training archived by the MFA, and diplomatic memoirs, this study analyzes the ways in which this group was in constant conversation with the changing world around them. Theoretically, the dissertation takes its point of departure in Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of the state, adopting the concepts of capital, consecration, the bureaucratic field, habitus and doxa in an analytical approach.

The study contributes to four research gaps. First, it sheds new light on how a career in diplomacy was reshaped considering domestic and international developments in the twentieth century. Second, it demonstrates how visions expressed and routines adopted benefitted men from the upper ranks of society, and it also shows how these structural conditions changed over time. Third, the study explores how the competences and skills of diplomats mainly relied on generalist skills that related to both diplomacy and bureaucracy. Fourth, the dissertation demonstrates how publishing memoirs became an increasingly valuable means for the diplomats to present themselves, individually and collectively, and to display their lives and careers to a wider readership.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of History, Stockholm University , 2016. , 229 p.
Keyword [en]
diplomats, bureaucratization, diplomacy, field theory, generalist, recruitment, in-house schooling, diplomatic masculinity, social class, diplomatic memoirs
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-130233ISBN: 978-91-7649-437-0OAI: diva2:927448
Public defence
2016-09-02, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-06-11 Created: 2016-05-12 Last updated: 2016-08-23Bibliographically approved

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Biltekin, Nevra
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