I think it’s generally agreed that Panayotis Soldatos gets the credit for the first use of the term paradiplomacy, way back in 1990 in an essay of his, An Explanatory Framework for the Study of Federated States as Foreign-Policy Actors, in Michelmann & Soldatos, Federalism and International Relations: The Role of the Subnational Units.

While its use in the Anglosphere might have been limited by a feasible alternative meaning – the resolution of international disputes via the intervention of heavily armed Britons (joke) – what I don’t understand is why paradiplomàcia isn’t getting any ghits here, apart from in connection with the occasional translation of bits of Michael Keating. Here’s the abstract of a 2002 article of his in IDEES on paradiplomacy and regional networks, which I expect the new Catalan national rollerskating team to have learnt by heart by Friday:

Els últims anys han estat testimoni de l’explosió de l’activitat internacional per part de les regions i les nacions sense Estat arreu del món, i això especialment a Europa. Actualment hi ha més de dues-centes «ambaixades» regionals a Brussel·les que fan un paper de lobby sobre la Comissió Europea, connectades les unes amb les altres i implicades en l’emergent política europea de les comunitats. Catalunya també ha cercat de menar una gran part de la seva paradiplomàcia a través d’organismes publicoprivats amb comeses concretes en afers de desenvolupament econòmic o cultural.

This is probably something for another day, but I’d be interested to know on what basis Giles Tremlett believes that “Ever since the 15th century Catalonia has resisted incorporation into the Spanish state and its language and culture; under Franco use of the Catalan language was banned in public.” There is some truth in both assertions, but to generalise in that fashion is as inaccurate for Catalonia as it would be for, say, Wales.


Rodg has just mailed to point out that paradiplomacy is actually also used to indicate other unconventional types of diplomacy, including hostage-taking and other forms of terrorism.

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