Martin Wight’s Theology of Diplomacy

  • Robert Jackson
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan History of International Thought Series book series (PMHIT)


Diplomacy, its practice, its history, and its philosophy, is a preoccupation of Martin Wight’s international thought.1 Modern international society is understood to be a diplomatic system at its core.2 The various activities and institutions of diplomacy, such as the exchange of resident ambassadors, the activity of communication between states, the practice of diplomatic immunity, the holding of congresses and conferences, the negotiation of treaties and agreements of various kinds, are not only a distinguishing feature but also a foundational element of any society of independent states. When the diplomatic system is absent we are not likely to be contemplating political activities that could accurately be labeled “international.” When it is present we are almost certainly witnessing international relations. Diplomacy has a long history and a well-established theory, which is the business of scholars to elucidate in their teachings and writings. Historical and philosophical perspective on international relations is what Martin Wight very largely succeeded in bringing to his scholarship.


Foreign Policy International Relation International Affair International Politics Common Morality 
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© Robert Jackson 2005

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  • Robert Jackson

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