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James Pamment and Andreas Åkerlund

Cultural diplomacy builds on two things: the idea of national cultures and the existence of nation states. Their roots go back into the nineteenth century when modern nation-states were established in the wake of the French revolution. With this came the notion of national identity as something to be protected and managed by the state. National unity over identity and culture has been an important feature of modern nation-states. The idea of using culture as a diplomatic tool, to influence foreign publics through diffusing knowledge about countries’ values, arts, language and so forth, has this understanding of nation as well as culture as a prerequisite. This also turns culture into a subfield of international relations, since diplomacy then also uses culture as part of its toolkit. The notion that national culture is under attack, or worse, faces extinction through the impact of other cultures, also builds on the concept of national culture as an important part of identity, both individual and of the nation itself; hence the need for cultural security.