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Chapter 9

Consular Diplomacy

Halvard Leira and Iver B. Neumann

Consul-like offices have emerged in different countries and in different times in history as a response to challenges presented by long-distance travel and trade to citizens of one locality travelling and trading elsewhere. Although consuls, or the persons who serve in these offices, carry out important functions in the international system—primarily protecting one's national and commercial interests in foreign lands—they are poorly understood and often relegated to subordinate status in the diplomatic hierarchy. This chapter argues that we should focus on consular offices and tasks as they have actually existed, rather than looking at them through a diplomacy lens. The diplomat handles overall differences between groups. The consul handles the practical measures that facilitate commercial and social interactions between strangers. The chapter also argues that this functional interaction does not depend on the existence of sovereign states or of an international state-system, but rather on the existence of economic activities that involve members of more than one particular group or polity. This difference between the consul and the diplomat is likely to increase in a globalizing world.

Glossary exercises

Take–home messages

Answering the book's "big" questions

Quizzes

Web-links

Counterfactual reasoning exercises

Guide to further reading


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