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  1. 1. ‘Psychopower’ of Cultural Diplomacy in theInformation AgeNatalia GrinchevaApril 2013Figueroa PressLos Angeles
  2. 2. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THEINFORMATION AGENatalia GrinchevaPublished byFIGUEROA PRESS840 Childs Way, 3rd FloorLos Angeles, CA 90089Phone: (213) 743-4800Fax: (213) 743-4804www.figueroapress.comFigueroa Press is a division of the USC BookstoreCopyright © 2013 all rights reservedNotice of RightsAll rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmit-ted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the author,care of Figueroa Press.Notice of LiabilityThe information in this book is distributed on an “As is” basis, withoutwarranty. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of thisbook, neither the author nor Figueroa nor the USC Bookstore shall haveany liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damagecaused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by any text containedin this book.Figueroa Press and the USC Bookstore are trademarks of the Universityof Southern CaliforniaISBN 13: 978-0-18-215589-7ISBN 10: 0-18-215589-7For general inquiries or to request additional copies of this paperplease contact:USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg SchoolUniversity of Southern California3502 Watt Way, G4Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281Tel: (213) 821-2078; Fax: (213)
  3. 3. CPD Perspectives on Public DiplomacyCPD Perspectives is a periodic publication by the USC Center onPublic Diplomacy, and highlights scholarship intended to stimulatecritical thinking about the study and practice of public diplomacy.Designed for both the practitioner and the scholar, this series willillustrate the breadth of public diplomacy—its role as an essentialcomponent of foreign policy and the intellectual challenges itpresents to those seeking to understand this increasingly significantfactor in international relations.CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy is available electronically inPDF form on the Center’s web site ( in hard copy by request.About the USC Center on Public Diplomacyat the Annenberg SchoolThe USC Center on Public Diplomacy seeks to advance and enrichthe study and practice of public diplomacy through its research andpublication programs, professional training and public events.The USC Center on Public Diplomacy (CPD) was established in 2003as a partnership between the Annenberg School for Communicationand the School of International Relations at the University ofSouthern California. It is a joint research, analysis and professionaltraining organization dedicated to furthering the study and practiceof global public diplomacy.Since its inception, the Center has become a productive andrecognized leader in the public diplomacy research and scholarshipcommunity. CPD has benefited from unique international supportwithin academic, corporate, governmental, and public policy circles.It has become the definitive go-to destination for practitionersand international leaders in public diplomacy, while pursuing aninnovative research agenda.For more information about the Center,
  4. 4. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 5AbstractThis paper focuses on the phenomenon of digital diplomacy,critically analyzed from the perspective of philosophicalpsychoanalysis. The study aims to elaborate the theoreticalunderpinningsofdigitaldiplomacythroughemployingtheconceptualframework of collective individuation and psychotechnologiesdeveloped by French critical philosopher Bernard Stiegler.Stiegler’s philosophical conception of contemporary politics underthe condition of globalized cultural and economic capitalism isemployed in this work to explain the dramatic changes in diplomaticrelations taking place on the international arena at the beginning ofthe new century.Keywords: digital diplomacy, psychotechnologies, transindividuation,psychopower, ‘soft’power
  5. 5. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 7IntroductionCultural diplomacy has recently received a renewed interestaround the world from governments, cultural practitioners, andacademics as a means to understand, inform, engage, and influencedomestic and international audiences. Diplomacy has traditionallyserved to manage relations among states and other parties byadvising and shaping foreign policy, which eventually coordinatesand secures specific states’ interests in the international arena. Withthe advance of new media communication tools, diplomacy in theinformation society has gone significant transformations. Digitaldiplomacy, also known as public diplomacy 2.0 or e-diplomacy,incorporates the inclusive nature of traditional public or culturaldiplomacy and refers to the cross-cultural practices through digitaland networked technologies, including the Internet, mobile devices,and social media channels.1Though in the last decade digital diplomacy has been the focusof close attention from political leaders and cultural practitioners,there is still a lack of academic engagement with this subject in amore critical and theoretical context. However, it is imperative tobetter understand how these technologies that externalize culturalmemory, national heritage, and identity—as well as human values—work within a larger political context in global communications.This paper aims to elaborate the theoretical underpinnings ofdigital diplomacy through employing the conceptual frameworkof collective individuation and psychotechnologies developed byFrench critical philosopher Bernard Stiegler.This paper consists of three parts that employ Stiegler’s criticaltheory to discuss different dimensions of digital diplomacy as apractical field in an academic context. The first part, Phenomenologyof Collective Memory, introduces some important points ofStiegler’s theory and provides key definitions and explanations ofthe main concepts that are heavily utilized in this study to elaborateon the critical understanding of the social, economic, and politicalprocesses of digital diplomacy. The second part, Psychopower,
  6. 6. 8 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEfurther advances the theoretical legacy of Stiegler and discusses itin a broader context of global international relations. Finally, thelast part of the paper, Participative Digital Democracy, presents themajor social and technological concerns of Stiegler’s philosophicalproject in relation to the processes taking place within diplomaticactivities carried out in the digital environment. This study doesnot aim to provide a complete comprehensive framework of digitaldiplomacy as a new field of theoretical research; rather, it tries todeepen the understanding of the political and economic mechanismsin the international communication and diplomatic activities thatare increasingly more complicated and challenged with the advanceof digital technologies in the global capitalism system.Phenomenology of Collective Memory: TransindividuationProcesses in the Information SocietyIn his series Techniques and Time, Stiegler claims that humanagency is always in need of technical extension and support tosustain oneself and realize individual and collective goals. Assuch, “technical prosthesis” has always been critical for humans,making possible its ever becoming.2Most importantly, the culturalphenomenon of human memory influencing the construction offuture development becomes possible only with the advent oftechniques and tools. These tools serve as external virtual drives ofhuman experiences and knowledge memory that shape the future.3Stiegler’s conceptualization of memory exteriorization iscrucial for the present study because it helps to analyze audio-visual and digital technologies and their major influence on humanconsciousness. These technologies, according to Stiegler, have astrong potential to impact human cognitive processes by constitutingconsciousness outside of real life experiences. Technical audio-visual and digital objects and tools build future experiences incontemporary society, out of which the principles for memoryselectively emerge to preserve the primary moments in an ongoingreal-time montage of the present. Digital, electronic dimensions ofmodern exteriorization technology, as Stiegler emphasizes, results
  7. 7. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 9in erosion of national collective memory being programmed underthe contradictory economic and cultural globalization forces in apolitical struggle for manipulating human consciousness.Accordingto Stiegler, different communication techniques employed byaudio-visual and digital industries are the key drivers of the globaltechnical system exacerbation, disorienting individuals and leadingto an increasing loss of collective and self- understanding, resultingin a state of “ill-being.”4To better explain these processes, the following section providessome background for Stiegler’s critical philosophy through definingsuch important notions as individuation and collective individuationor transindividuaton (used in this paper interchangeably).The notionof individuation is constructed on the premise that an “individual”is never given in advance, but produced or comes into being in thecourse of multiple ongoing processes. Individuation occurs as acomplex interaction of multidimensional processes, some of whichcan also take place transindividually, or on a group level.5Thesenotions, first introduced by Gilbert Simondon (1989), are crucialinitial points for understanding larger concepts of political andeconomic powers that are analyzed in this paper in light of digitaldiplomacy.Before explaining transindividuation in more depth, I first referto another concept from Simondon, transduction. Transductionaccounts for a mediating process between the world and a livingbeing, which develops a psychic individuation. Such an “exchangeof energies” with a world to which any individuation is fullyintegrated produces a subject, a psychic being separated from theworld, but interacting with it as a whole other phase of being byitself.Transindividuation is understood as a foundation of anotherlayer of environment created through collective meanings. Intransindividuation, senses are perceived and transmitted throughmembers of communities, modified and shaped by each one throughhuman communication, thus making collective and subjective life
  8. 8. 10 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEpossible. In light of Simondon’s and Stiegler’s conceptions, digitaldiplomacy can be understood as a cultural transductive processthat aims to create shared collective memory and experiences onthe cross-cultural level. As Venn confirms, the information societyhas been developed through very important technological andindustrial transformations made possible by a rapid advance ofdigital technology, and particularly network technology. This newinteractive way of technical cultural transduction is “the technicalmilieu … what Simondon called an associated technical milieu(milieu technique associé) or a techno-geographical milieu,” thatrecreates a long circuit transcending across geographic and culturalboundaries through the net of digital reality.6The digital medium, specifically the Internet, is a type of mediumthat in many ways redefines the principles of mass communicationsand provides a techno-geographical milieu of connected mindswhere the circulation of information shapes the consciousness ofpeople through a transduction bypassing physical boundaries.Stalder also confirms that with the advance of the Internet, networktechnology culture has been transformed from an object-orientedto exchange-oriented culture, which is understood as a continuousprocess.7The exchange-oriented culture corresponds nicely toManuel Castells’ perspective on the growth of a networked society,where culture consists not so much of content, but of processes; andwhere the Internet is “an open-ended network of cultural meaningsthat can not only coexist, but also interact and modify each other onthe basis of this exchange.”8Stiegler, discussing the processes of globalization andvirtualization of contemporary culture, indicates that “…an increasein digital networking will produce a new kind of temporal object:one that is delinearizable and inseparable, produced by hypervideotechnologies.”9He sees the future of humanity in light of theincreased technotization of human consciousness:there will doubtless be an increase in the amount of timespent in front of screens of all kinds, which will be then re-conceptualized and redefined in their functions (becoming
  9. 9. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 11terminals of tele-action), their various applications expandinginto the thousands, most notably at the professional level; theseprocesses will pursue, at an increasingly complex level and withincreasing ease and sensitivity, the industrial temporalization ofconsciousness.10By temporal objects, Stiegler means films, radio, televisionprograms, and other media products which reach out daily “tomillions, hundreds of millions of consciousnesses.”11These temporalobjects, as Stiegler explains, represent the pursuit of life by meansother than life.12Stiegler introduces the notion of the temporalobject in regard to his theoretical concept of the collective memory.Stiegler’s exploration of the technologies of human consciousnessmanipulation, or tele-technologies as he called them, started fromhis detailed analysis of audiovisual media (such as cinema) andprogressed to the study of digital technologies in his most recentworks. However, his framework of tele-technologies, in the broadestsense, serves as a playground for exploration of the “industrializationof memory.”The industrialization of human memory, which includes cultureand identity, is now operationalized through the production andwide distribution of industrial temporal objects. The results ofindustrialization or exteriorization of human memory in temporalobjects create technical collective memory, which plays a crucial rolein shaping all aspects of life in society because it contains collectiveexperiences from which anybody can draw and, thus, project intothe future and transform existence. According to Stiegler, collectivememory is a specific form of actualization of the present rather thanthe conjunction of a human being with an image of the past. Thepresent moment is being actualized via the flow of time and spacecaptured through temporal objects that are the result of a highlyselective process of cultural contextualization and are extremelypolitical by nature.13As Stiegler explains, the qualities of temporal objects are able toattract predetermined ways of viewing the past and reconstructing thepresent. They are the carriers of collective knowledge, experiences,
  10. 10. 12 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEandideasthatpeoplehavehad.However,theirstructuresofinheritanceand transmission are not biological and genetic but external, whichexists in addition to the genetic, like a surrounding layer. Stiegleremphasizes that in the contemporary society human or social beingsare formed and shaped first of all through interaction with technicalartifacts.14The mechanisms that are in place in the reconstruction ofhuman experiences through interaction with temporal objects canbe explained by the ability of these objects to represent the past ofothers while being in the present of an individual in a particular timeand space. In this way, temporal objects give access to a past thatone has not lived, the past as the “already there” or in Heideger’sterms, the Dasein, only accessible through techniques. As a result,history, traditions, communities are instrumentalized and can betransmitted to human minds to build a collective memory.15In regardto cross-cultural interaction in a broad realm of political internationalcommunication, human culture serves as the medium of inventionand propagation of collective memory.Traditionally, collective memory has been understood as“becoming-together” in space with the material cultural objects: inmuseums, in public heritage sites, in films, in the nonstop stream ofimages, and in sounds surrounding people in their daily activities.Collective memory produces society out of tradition and intosomething new through rituals. Reinforcing the political significanceof production of a collective memory, Bollmer indicates:…it is here we can find the politics of collective memory, as inthinking of collective memory as action beyond cognition, we canunderstand how political actors—those individual-collectives markedout as different—are constituted, are maintained, are changed and aredissipated.16Stiegler, who started the analysis of the temporal objects in hisearlier studies with cinematography, fully associated this media withthe history of development of the human consciousness in Westernsocieties. He states that life is “always already cinema” and that thestructure of consciousness is essentially cinematographic. With thishe emphasizes that reality can be understood as a montage of temporal
  11. 11. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 13perception, because it necessarily involves selection. Employing thisframework with the more advanced technologies of the informationsociety, it is relevant to state that the images that are widely circulatedacross societies through temporal objects, including digital media andthe Internet, become lodged inside human minds as the milestonesof the present and past. Despite the fact that everybody can relateto them or understand them in completely different ways, theybecome the poles of contemporary transindividuality. The imagesreceived through temporal objects individuate people psychically,and, by that same process, individuate them collectively. As a result,television, cinema, and digital media enable billions of peoplearound the globe to share many key milestones, even though theperspectives of different cultural societies toward these images andideas significantly differ. In a large measure, a collective memory isbeing produced on a global scale, and that collective memory servesas a common guideline to all those who live in the interior of a givensocial and historical configuration.From an international relations and diplomatic perspective,Stiegler’s emphasis on the power of particular cultural objects todominate in the global context is imperative. Stiegler illustrates hisidea of cultural domination through the case of the successful filmindustry model of Hollywood spreading to an increasing amountof countries, which in turn spreads the American lifestyle aroundthe world. This power of temporal objects to reach and manipulateaudiences across borders and dominate the cultural niches of othersocieties has strong implications in diplomatic relations.Cultural diplomacy capitalizes on this power of culture andcultural objects by using the art of diplomacy to promote culture,resulting in greater awareness of different populations culturalbackgrounds. Such awareness leads to interaction among variousplayers, states, and individuals. Traditionally (and before the rapidadvance of tele-technologies) this was achieved by organizingcultural events or a series of cultural activities among countries,employing the instrumentality of “culture” in promoting a country’sinterests in economic, political, and strategic fields. Though defined
  12. 12. 14 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEas “the exchange of ideas, information, art and other aspects of cultureamong nations and their peoples to foster mutual understanding,”17cultural diplomacy has served in many historical examples as apowerful tool of cultural propaganda and manipulation.In regard to digital diplomacy, Stiegler’s framework isparticularly relevant to excitement in the diplomatic and internationalcommunication fields about the advance of the new media channelsof trans-cultural interactions. The digital technologies providedmeans of even faster and more efficient distribution of culturalcontent that can reach and manipulate millions of consciousnessesaround the globe in milliseconds:While broadcast networks are still necessarily national fortechnical and performance-transmission reasons, the digitalnetwork is global. The integral digitalization that gave riseto the audiovisual, along with the profusion of programmingindustries (cameras, recording, networks, and digitaltelevision), will thus continue to be concretized throughthe televisual broadcasting’s globalization and the variousservices it produces; the image itself will play an increasinglyimportant role, expanding into all sorts of utility activities.The central organs of tele-action will no longer be the currentelectronic devices in the home; they will become tools forincreasingly nomadic work, domestic and professionalaccessories with multiple functions.18As Hart confirms, “the increased speed of digital devicesand innovations in computer networks and digital compressiontechnologies make it both easier and less expensive to deliver words,music, symbols, and images (in fact, anything that can be digitized) toconsumers around the world.”19The global forces operating throughnew media communication tools are discussed in more details inthe next part of the study, which employs the outlined theoreticalframework to talk about the political and economic forces that are inplace in the current state of diplomatic relations across borders, suchas psychotechnologies.
  13. 13. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 15Psychopower, A Global Force: Reaching the ‘Hearts and Minds’Across BordersThe main focus of this section is to uncover the mechanicsof psychopower and its major role in the processes of globalcommunications in a new emerging realm of diplomatic relationsacross nation states. Psychopower is a term used by Stiegler torefer to modern political technologies that capture and modulate thecollective consciousness of societies.20This technology, as advocatedby Stiegler, is more advanced than the political mechanisms ofbiopower. The term biopower was coined by French social theoristMichel Foucault. It refers to the practice of modern governmentsand their regulations of human subjects through “an explosion ofnumerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugationsof bodies and the control of populations.”21In his work, Foucaultused this concept to explain practices of public health, heredity, andrisk regulations. The primary quality of this political technologyis that it allows for the control of entire populations, which makespossible the development of the modern nation state and the systemof capitalism.Biopower enables the government’s direct involvement infostering the life of the population through creating and maintainingcentersofdisciplinaryinstitutionsandregulatorycontrols.Thispoweris exercised through institutions, decentralized by the government,such as police, schools, prisons, markets, etc.22Biopower operatesmainly through intervention into life of people “in terms of, the birthrate, the mortality rate, various biological disabilities, and the effectsof the environment.”23Stiegler advances understanding of the approaches taken toanalyze the political forces to govern and control individualsthrough unfolding techno-logic and technical indeterminacy. Heunderlines the limiting conditions of an exhausted biopower thatloses its social influence in contemporary culture’s etho-politicaldestitution. Stiegler indicates that the growth and development ofpsychopower is based on the historical unfolding of biopower logic,
  14. 14. 16 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEwhich has extended to control every sphere of life, especially thelife of the mind. As a result of such a rise of influence over humanconsciousness, psychotechnologies have become more advancedforms of human engineering that regulate the subjects by holdingcontrol over their cognition. Hence, human attention is usuallytaken as the main object for exercising different ethopolitics, whichaim to recreate it as anew. Digital technologies play a great role incultivating this new ethos, as recent digital aesthetics forayed indigital coding underpin psychopower.24Psychotechnologies are operationalized through globalcommunication channels, which control not so much human bodies,but the ontological essence of human agency through manipulatingthe consciousness of peoples defining their life being. As a result,psychotechnologies capture, control, and modulate “the neuro-informational circuits of human behavior,” that especially prevailin such fields as education, marketing, and a broad range of culturalactivities.25From the perspective of global communications andinternational relations, these larger “neuro-informational circuits”are defined by John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt as noosphere.This term, originating from the Greek word noos, meaning “themind,” came into widespread use in the 1950s and 1960s. Accordingto French theologian and scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, itemerged initially as a geosphere, and next as a biosphere, and theworld finally turned into noosphere—“a globe-circling realm of‘the mind,’ a ‘thinking circuit,’ a ‘stupendous thinking machine,’a ‘thinking envelope’ full of fibers and networks, and a planetary‘consciousness.’”26The noosphere as the knowledge-based groundprovides an arena for economic and political struggle whereinformation serves as a major weapon of power and control.In their analysis of contemporary diplomacy, Ronfeldt andArquilla indicate that in the information age soft power, basedon constructing and manipulating the information environmentsof foreign nations through co-option, will continue to replace thetraditional principles of diplomacy and hard power, based on militarypower and coercion.27The new technology of soft power involves
  15. 15. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 17a wide variety of non-state actors including cultural industriesand transnational cultural corporations to exercise informationalcontrol over the consciousness of human minds across borders andcultural communities. The global interconnectivity facilitated bydigital technologies and the Internet allow for the unlimited flowof financial, political, and media information directly reaching thepopulations around the globe.28Historically, national governments have been the primary actorsin managing communication with foreign nations. However, withthe growing proliferation of social media technologies and advancedinformation access online, the credibility of national governments asprimary cultural diplomacy players in the eyes of foreign publics hasdramatically declined.29The powerful role of public organizationsand commercial trans-cultural industries, on the other hand, hassignificantly increased.30As international relations progressivelyoperate through complex, multi-level, and interdependent networks,the economic factor in the global context in many ways predeterminesthe political factor in international diplomatic relations. In this regard,though Stiegler sees a supplementary continuity in the relationshipbetween biopower and psychopower, he criticizes Foucauldianbiopower because it fails to entail an economic dimension, whichhe argues has acquired a dominating power in a global context ofgovernance and control.Stiegler utilizes a more economical or, rather, consumptive viewof the biopolitical aspects in contrast with Foucault, who took a moreproductive approach: “… today the question of biopower is lessone of ‘utilizing the population’ for production than of establishingmarkets for consumption.”31The reinforced role of new players indiplomatic relations, both from the civil society sector as well asmere economic powers, have re-constructed the previous top-downapproach to international relations and created a system of globalnetworks functioning under the condition of global economic regimeof capitalism. The noosphere for Stiegler is a matrix of informationnetworks, where psychotechnologies are being exercised byhegemonic transnational cultural corporations, which aim to control
  16. 16. 18 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEcultural and information circuits of human consciousness aroundthe globe. Stiegler’s major contribution to an understanding of thelogic of the “soft powers” in the system of international relationsis his detailed exploration of psychotechnologies that are primaryeconomic, consumer-oriented strategies rather than political powersof society governance and control.Taking an example from 21stcentury U.S. cultural diplomacy,it is possible to support Stiegler’s claim by illustrating thatAmerican “culture is now transmitted to remote places around theglobe predominantly by the private sector rather than by officialpublic diplomacy efforts. Even as government investment in themovement of culture around the world has declined, the technologyof globalization has triggered an explosion in USA cultural exports.”Traditional cultural diplomacy in the country in recent years has beenshadowed by trade policy, “generating a new point of cross-culturalcontact.”32Although many researchers find this situation dangerousfor the U.S. public image, others take it as a logical consequence ofthe development of democratic society. “The planetary dominanceof Hollywood… is a reason why the American government neglectsarts diplomacy.” The culture of entertainment or relaxation is theproduct of the profit-seeking private sector, and “its global expansionprovides intellectual ammunition to American citizens, both insideand outside of government, who see no reason to promote artsdiplomacy abroad at the taxpayer’s expenses.”33Service-oriented capitalism makes all aspects of humanexistence just mere objects of the systematic and permanent controlof attention and behavior. These service industries, which nowpenetrate the lives of people on a global scale, destroy the longcircuits of transindividuation. It means that in the processes oftransindividuation, human consciousnesses are transformed withouttheir direct participation in this transformation.34Stiegler findseconomic influence on the processes of collective individuationas the strongest disruption of natural transduction process in longcircuits, whether it be the predominance of Hollywood productionin the “globalization” of the cinema industry or the increasing
  17. 17. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 19commercialization of the Internet. Striegler indicates the rise of the“hyperindustrial” society, where life has been completely reducedto consumption and everything becomes just a service. In suchsocio-economic conditions, transindividuation becomes completelyshort-circuited through marketing and advertising. Public lifeis then disrupted, where the processes of psychic and collectiveindividuation transform into collective disindividuation. Longcircuits are destroyed in disindividuation, which causes the loss ofcollective identity.35In relation to digital diplomacy, it is also imperative to considerthe economic factor, which in many cases defines what kind ofcultural and informational content is being circulated in the globalnetwork of digital reality. From an economic point of view, the riseof the consumerism culture in postmodern society has forced culturalinstitutions which serve as central nodes in diplomatic relationsacross borders (under or without a direct government control) tocommercialize their structures. This is dictated by the need to adaptto a global economic regime of capitalism where public support isscarce and new sources for financial stability of cultural institutionsare required. In this situation, cultural organizations are urged toperform like private businesses; employing marketing strategies,charging for admissions, and selling things and experiences aspublic commodities.36Therefore, in the digital dimension, thecultural national resources that are promoted the most and deliveredto the global market for consumption in many ways are shaped bythe market demands and populism.Thus, digital diplomacy, claiming to be a highly politicalenterprise, in fact in the information age of global economicdevelopment functions across different market forces that reach outto domestic and foreign audiences. Furthermore, digital and newmedia channels of communication are becoming the most influentialplatforms for exercising psychopowers: “life and bodies nowinvested in by online corporations such as Facebook and Google.”37However, the contemporary digital technologic does not just workto create markets and construct consumers but rather multiplies the
  18. 18. 20 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEmarket itself, so that it expands throughout the entire spectrum of lifereaching the cognitive dimension. Stiegler especially emphasizesthe predominant roles of networking and digital technologies toreinforce the market forces:an unprecedented and merciless global commercial war in whichdigital networks are already-are at first and increasingly-weapons inthe battle to conquer global commerce-the global commerce of goodsand of ideas.38According to Stiegler, industrial control and globalization have“provoked a crisis of social decomposition, entropy, and spiritualdisorientation that demands an urgent and radical critique.”39Inthis context, Stiegler advocates for developing a “political will”that can counteract the economic hegemony to transform collectiveindividuation processes in society into a more meaningful and healthyone. He calls for the invention of a new “politics of memory” on theinternationallevelinresponsetotheeconomicandphenomenologicalspecificity of contemporary tele-technologies.40Given this threat tothe possibility of successful psychic and collective individuation,and in agreement with Adorno and Heidegger, Stiegler argues thata new cultural politics of memory needs to develop practices of art,communication, and creation that would keep open and promoteethical and political desire for a meaningful future.41That meansthat it is important to develop policies that will foster a rejuvenationof “the sense of free time” to think and to take care. This culturalethics and politics would enact a culturally driven will to reversethe industrialization of consciousness within the economy of globaltechno-capitalism.42The following section of this study will look closer at thequestions of democratic engagement of the humanities with theissues of political and social will. The preceding part of this paperprovided Stiegler’s intake on the mechanisms of psychopower inrelation to digital diplomacy; while the next section will look closerat the very nature of digital tools. On the one hand, these toolsempower ordinary people to become active cultural ambassadorscommunicating across borders; yet, on the other hand, they increase
  19. 19. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 21the strength of the economic and political forces taking control ofsociety through the Internet and digital technologies.Participative Digital Democracy: Citizen Diplomacy in theInformation AgeThis section provides Stiegler’s perspective on the oppositionalissues of the nature of the Internet and digital communication thatchallenges and redefines the diplomatic activities in the informationage. First, a brief overview of literature shows the contradictoryopinions about the democratic potential of the Internet, which fromthe one point of view encourages social participation and increasesdemocracy, and from another point of view diminishes the power ofpeople to communicate in an inclusive public discourse.New technology is discussed by many authors as a potentialtool in the revitalization of democracy in its various forms andhas been researched through the analytical lenses of politicalactivism.43Some scholars indicate that collective uses of the Internetpromote social capital that can be significantly enhanced onlinethrough participation in online communities and can further lead tostrengthened democratic relations in the offline world.44Studies thatemphasize a significant advancement of a social web that encouragessharing, participation, creativity, and democratic relations can alsobe traced in a number of publications which discuss a new socialparadigm.45These publications confirm that the development of newdigital and networking technologies has redefined the key principlesof human communication in contemporary society. They suggesta new approach to engaging with diverse communities around theworld, based on a “two-way,” “many-to-many” democratic model ofinteraction, decentralization of authority, and free content production,consumption, and sharing.However, there is a body of literature that concentrates onthe monopoly, defining powers, and surveillance of social digitalnetworks that shape and control the behavior of people online. AsLessig indicates, “We have every reason to believe that cyberspace…
  20. 20. 22 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEwill not fulfill the promise of freedom…[and] will become a perfecttool of control.”46Andrew Chadwick also argues that the Internetembodies not only positive values like freedom, community,equality, altruism, and democracy, but also social control, discipline,and hierarchy.47As Robins and Webster emphasize, “an importantrationale for the deployment of new information technologies is,then, the regulation of political life and the engineering of publicopinion.”48The use of online technologies in building active citizens’communities helps to sustain the processes of social management andcontrol, as well as to maintain political and administrative cohesion,“technology now increasingly fulfills what previously dependedupon bureaucratic organisation and structure.”49Van Dijck asserts that social norms embedded in interactionpatterns within social and digital media platforms are shaped bytechnological systems’ interfaces designed to promote particulareconomic or political interests.50Sociologist Bruno Latour furtherstresses that socio-technological ensembles of interactive mediaplatforms serve as mediators of social reality, because these systemsthemselves dictate invisible algorithms and protocols to interpretuploaded objects, guide social interaction, and to affect humanbehavior through a design of interfaces and navigation.51In regard to digital diplomacy, Michel Foucault’s post-structuralnotion of panopticism (1979) has acquired a particular relevantapplication within Internet studies. The idea of panopticism isbased on the Bentham’s (1787) concept of Panopticon, which refersto a particular type of architecture, enabling the mechanisms ofobservation and surveillance, controlling behavior of individualsto produce self-regulated subjects. Foucault defines panopticism,as “the discipline-mechanism: a functional mechanism that mustimprove the exercise of power by making it lighter, more rapid,more effective, a design of subtle coercion for a society to come.”52Significant advances in technology and surveillance techniques haveprovided new tools for political and economic powers to controlhuman populations through subtle and often unseen forces online.The question of how the social web changes the logic of collective
  21. 21. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 23and individual actions is the focus of research of many sociologistsand communication studies scholars. Many researchers attemptto investigate the logic of participation online, revealing that theInternet can enhance some collective efforts and endanger others.53In regard to digital diplomacy, the development of the Internetfacilitated the active use of the concept of “citizen diplomacy”54—in other words, the power of ordinary people to influence theimage of their country being projected on the international arena.Potter summarized the effects of the social media revolution on thediplomatic activities and singled out the key issues arising aroundthe digital diplomacy, which he called cyber-diplomacy. These keyissues include interconnectivity among a large number of actors,decentralization of powers and ignoring traditional authorities,acceleration of the decision-making process, amplification ofinformation flows and impacts, and hypertextuality or endless seriesof links, which transcend the boundaries of information throughmultiple references to relevant or associated content.55In contrast with this optimistic view of the political democraticpotential of the digital environment, Stiegler’s perspective takes amore critical view towards the interactive participative potential ofthe digital systems. In the framework of the psychic and collectiveindividuations, Stiegler looks at the issues of democratic premises ofthe digital media through the notion of sociation:Sociation is the competence of society and not just of itsrepresentatives… The delegation of competence is a major socialcompetence of the democratic societies. But that competence can beexerted only insofar as it does not constitute a loss of competences onthe part of the citizens, but rather the extension of their competences;and it can be exerted only through the pooling of those competences,that is to say, through sharing and debating them in the time-delayedmode of the political and social organizations.56Stiegler explains that sociation in a democratic societydemands the participation of everyone in political life through thedemocratic processes of selection of representatives accountable to
  22. 22. 24 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEthe organizations that mandate them. However, in the informationsociety, loss of participation frequently happens when audiovisualand new media start to dominate political life, short-circuiting theprocesses of psychic and collective individuations. This short-circuiting occurs every time when real democratic participation issubstituted by mere representation of participation through mediatechniques significantly enhanced with the development of socialmedia and digital technologies. As Stiegler indicates, participationin the media representation “is aped, simulated, caricatured, anddestroyed by contemporary political marketing techniques – theproduct of tele-cracy and inspired by it in the form of tele-reality.”57Stiegler argues that the “real time” of live communications and the“just-in-time” adjustment of politics to public opinion are constantlydisrupting the processes of sociation. As he explains, politicalrepresentatives, through increased media intervention into the sociallife of people, short-circuit their individuations and in this wayshort circuit democracy by the active use of demagogy and politicalpopulism.58Stiegler criticizes different forms of “pseudo-participativeinteractivity” pointing out that blogs, Internet sites, and convergencetechnologies create only a frame of democratic participation withouta real distribution of the power. Political marketing thus turns publicdiscourse into a simulacra, which fails to build firm ground forsociation and neglects genuine social participation. Constructingpseudo-participation is achieved through imposing on the associatedsymbolic milieu, which is the Internet and different modes ofcommunication techniques that previously were used frequently inreality shows. Through representation of active public participation,these programs produce illusions of participation and sociation. Infact, pseudo-participation is short-circuiting different agencies ofsociation or transindividuation and is producing in the long run onlymore frustration and disillusionment.59However, Stiegler’s perspective on the digital technologyremains open, and he avoids any technological determinism inexplaining sociation processes facilitated through new media. Thus,
  23. 23. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 25he asserts that digital technologies do “have enormous potential tocounteract precisely that tele-cracy and effect the reconstitution of ademocratic industrial society.”60This opinion is in line with the viewof democratic theorist Benjamin R. Barber, who said earlier:If democracy is to benefit from technology then, we muststart not with technology but with politics. Having a voice,demanding a voice… is the first step citizens can take inassuring a democratic technology. The new technology is stillonly an instrument of communication, and it cannot determinewhat we will say or to whom we will say it.61Considering the interactive potentials of the new mediatechnologies and the new opportunities that they can bring toordinary citizens in their social engagements with political issues,Stiegler actively advocates for the development of “a genuinepolitical program for socializing the digital technologies, supportingsystematically, through a reinvented public policy, the constitutionof new forms of associated milieus.”62He insists that the verytechnologies that are currently used as means of manipulation ofhuman consciousness “are the only possible way to invent new formsofsocialbondandcivilpeace.”Hecallsonsocietytoorganizeitselfasa movement to confront and to counteract an unprecedented politicaland social collapse.63Going beyond the technological framework,he proposes the invention of a new organization of society that isbased on the “open source” paradigm, entailing people’s activeparticipation in the creation of the world in which they live.64Inapplicationtodigitaldiplomacy,Stiegler’scallforempoweringpeople for more active participation and cooperation with a variety ofdifferent stakeholders in the international arena is in accordance withthe contemporary rhetoric of public diplomacy leaders and academicscholars who enthusiastically advocate for social revolution in thedigital world. Thus, American culture climatologist and persuasion/propaganda expert Nancy Snow points out that “global publics willnot allow themselves just to be talked to, but are demanding fullerparticipation in dialogue and feedback through the help of Web 2.0communication technologies and new media.”65U.S. Secretary of
  24. 24. 26 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEState Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her 2010 public address “Remarkson Internet Freedom,” emphasized the powerful potential of theInternet that allows average people to contribute to the globalinformation exchange and influence the information ecology:We have seen the possibilities of what can happen whenordinary citizens are empowered by Twitter and Facebook toorganize political movements, or simply exchange ideas andinformation. So we find ourselves living at a moment in humanhistory when we have the potential to engage in these new andinnovative forms of diplomacy and to also use them to helpindividuals be empowered for their own development.66British cultural diplomacy scholars also envision a significantchange in the cultural diplomacy paradigm, which they describe “asthe shift from few-to-few communication (traditional diplomacy) to… the growth of many-to-many interactions.”67However, as Stiegler demonstrated in his recent work, thedemagogic and rhetorical appeal of these public speeches should notovershadow the real social and political processes that are currentlytaking place online. The new cultural diplomacy is indeed facing asocial turn in the context of the rapid development of new mediacommunication tools, but how these tools will be utilized and whowill control their use and further development is still a challengingand unresolved dilemma for 21stcentury humanity.ConclusionThis study outlined the problematic framework of the emergingfield of digital diplomacy in the social, cultural, and economicdimensions through a close reading of Stiegler’s philosophicalconcept of the techno-culture. Though a broader and morecomprehensive theoretical framework of digital diplomacy is stillpossible for further elaboration, development, and improvement, thepresent research tried to raise some important questions regardinginternational communications in a new light of phenomenologyof collective individuation. Stiegler’s philosophical conception of
  25. 25. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 27contemporary politics under the condition of globalized cultural andeconomic capitalism is one way to explain the dramatic changes indiplomatic relations taking place on the global arena at the beginningof the new century.This research presented the political perspective of Stiegleron contemporary technological advances that, he asserts, cannotnecessarily bring success in the processes of sociation and trans-cultural individuation through technical supports to a postmodernend. As he emphasizes in his theoretical explorations, “politicalappropriation and ownership constitute a condition of materialprocesses of civilization. Stiegler’s philosophy of technologyhas, therefore, tabled in a singular manner how important, andhow problematic, this “we” is today in a globalized world.”68Abreak between globally appropriated technological networks andeconomic-political interventions in the formations of the essenceof the contemporary communications is a major challenge forcontemporary societies. In this regard, Stiegler’s philosophy oftechnology demonstrates the urgent need for a global politicsto redefine economic and social conditions to construct healthydemocratic communities interconnected in trans-cultural interactionvia digital and social networks.Stiegler’s techno-cultural project has significant implications fordigital diplomacy as a practical discipline and can be successfullyutilized to improve its future development based on the moreproductive engagement with social, economic, and politicalissues in a theoretical context. The technological advance of theinformation society, envisioned by many enthusiastic supportersof digital revolution as a huge progress in the postmodern strugglefor democracy, brings about new challenges and threats to culturaldevelopment and cultural exchanges in the local, national, andinternational contexts. Close attention to the political questionsraised by Stiegler in his series Technics and Time can help academicsand practitioners from the digital diplomacy field to focus andaddress the most important moments of social cultural formations ofcontemporary networked society in a globalized community.
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  31. 31. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 35Endnotes1. Potter, 2002; Nye, 2004; Melissen, 20062. Stiegler, 1998, p. 1883. Ibid., p. 1634. Stiegler, 20115. Simondon 1989, p. 1286. Venn 2007, p. 3347. Stalder, 20058. Castells, 2004, p. 409. Stiegler, 2011, p. 310. Ibid.11. Stiegler, 2009, p. 10612. Stiegler, 1998, p. 1713. Ibid., p. 6814. Ibid., p. 7215. Ibid., p. 8516. Bollmer, 2011, p. 46217. Cummings, 200318. Stiegler, 2011, p. 12619. Hart, 2010, p. 5620. Stiegler, 2008, p. 10321. Foucault, 1976, p. 4122. Ibid.23. Foucault, 2003, p. 24524. Munster, 201125. Stiegler, 200826. Ronfeldt & Arquilla 2008, p. 35427. Ibid., p. 35228. Potter, 200229. Gienow-Hecht, Donfried, 2010, p. 1130. Wang, 2006
  32. 32. 36 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE31. Stiegler, 2010, p. 12832. Ivey, 2007, p. 2233. Brown, 2006, p. 7434. Stiegler, 2009, p. 3935. Crogan & Ross, 200636. McGuigan, 199637. Munster, 2010, p. 8538. Stiegler, 2011, p. 13539. Stiegler, 2003, p. 15240. Beardsworth, 201041. Sinnerbrink, 200942. Queneau, 201043. Graham, 2006; Sunstein, 2006; Barber, 2006; Barry, 2006; McKenzie,200644. Kobayashi et al., 200645. Raymond, 2001; Brafman & Beckstrom 2006; Shirky, 2009; Bruns,2008)46. Lessig, 2000, p. 647. Chadwick, 200648. Robins & Webster, 2006, p. 9749. Robins & Webster, 2006, 97; Barber, 200650. Van Dijck, 201051. Latour, 2005, p. 3952. Foucault, 1979, p. 19653. Lupia & Sin, 200254. Hoffman, 198155. Potter, 200256. Stiegler, 2010, p. 17257. Ibid., p. 17358. Ibid., p. 17259. Ibid., p. 17660. Ibid., p. 173
  33. 33. ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGE 3761. Barber, 2006, p. 20162. Stiegler, 2010, p. 17663. Ibid., p. 17764. Crogan, 2010, p. 16265. Snow, 2009, p. 866. Clinton, 201067. Bound et al., 2007, p. 7568. Beardsworth, 2010, p. 185
  34. 34. 38 ‘PSYCHOPOWER’ OF CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN THE INFORMATION AGEAuthor BiographyNatalia Grincheva is an enthusiastic and energetic internationalproject coordinator experienced in completing arts and culturalprojects across Russia, Europe, and the United States. In recentyears, she actively engaged in the diplomatic work of InternationalFoundations in the US and the UK which promote the StateHermitage Museum in their local communities (The HermitageMuseum Foundation in New York / 2009–2010, UK Friends of theHermitage in London / 2010–2011). In both foundations Nataliacontributed to the development of the community projects andassisted in organizing a number of public engagement activities,including documentary screenings, exhibitions, and communityoutreach events.In summer 2011 Natalia served on the UNESCO SecretariatCommittee in Paris to help manage grant applications to theInternational Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD). After that sheworked for the Coalition of Cultural Diversity in Montreal as aResearch Associate and conducted a research on the internationalfunding sources for global cultural development.At the moment, Natalia pursues hew doctoral studies in theCentre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture atConcordia University in Montreal, Canada. Natalia’s doctoralresearch encompasses new museology, cultural diplomacy, andsocial media. Her project focuses on the use of social media inmuseums’ international outreach and diplomatic activities andaims to evaluate the impact of cultural diplomacy programsimplemented online within a museum context. Natalia is a holderof several prestigious international academic awards including theFulbright Scholarship (2007–2010), Erasmus Mundus EuroCultureScholarship (2010–2011), Quebec Fund Fellowship for Research onSociety and Culture (2011–2013), Australian Endeavour ResearchFellowship (2012–2013), and others.
  35. 35. Other Papers in the CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy SeriesAll papers in the CPD Perspectives series are available for free on theCenter’s website ( To purchase any of thepublications below in hard copy, please contact Cases in Water DiplomacyEdited by Naomi Leight2013/1 Considering the “Illogical Patchwork”: The Broadcasting Board of Governors and U.S. International Broadcasting by Emily T. Metzgar2012/10 Engaging India: Public Diplomacy and Indo-American Relations to 1957 by Sarah Ellen Graham2012/9 Silicon Valley’s Foreign Policy by Ernest J. Wilson III2012/8 Buddhist Diplomacy: History and Status Quo by Juyan Zhang2012/7 Public Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution: Russia, Georgia and the EU in Abkhazia and South Ossestia by Iskra Kirova2012/6 Practicing Successful Twitter Public Diplomacy: A Model and Case Study of U.S. Efforts in Venezuela by Erika A. Yepsen2012/5 Media Diplomacy and U.S.-China Military-to-Military Cooperation by Thomas A. Hollihan and Zhan Zhang2012/4 The Cultural Awakening in Public Diplomacy by R.S. Zaharna
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  37. 37. 2011/3 Public Diplomacy of Kosovo: Status Quo, Challenges and Optionsby Martin Wählisch and Behar Xharra2011/2 Public Diplomacy, New Media, and Counterterrorismby Philip Seib2011/1 The Power of the European Union in Global Governance:A Proposal for a New Public DiplomacyEl poder de la Unión Europea en el gobierno global:Propuesta para una nueva diplomacia públicaby Teresa La Porte2010/4 Spectacle in Copenhagen: Public Diplomacy on Paradeby Donna Marie Oglesby2010/3 U.S. Public Diplomacy’s Neglected Domestic Mandateby Kathy R. Fitzpatrick2010/2 Mapping the Great Beyond: Identifying Meaningful Networksin Public Diplomacyby Ali Fisher2010/1 Moscow ’59: The “Sokolniki Summit” Revisitedby Andrew Wulf2009/3 The Kosovo Conflict: U.S. Diplomacy and Western Public Opinionby Mark Smith2009/2 Public Diplomacy: Lessons from the Pastby Nicholas J. Cull2009/1 America’s New Approach to Africa: AFRICOM and Public Diplomacyby Philip Seib