This article contributes to the theorisation of collaborative public diplomacy by introducing a perceptual approach. Engaging with the collaborative diplomacy paradigm developed to conceptualise public diplomacy in the context of non-traditional security threats and conflicts, as well as nation building, the article explores and compares perceptions of the European Union (EU) as a public diplomacy actor in Ukraine (tracked in 50 elite interviews) and in Brussels (13 interviews with EU practitioners). The article engages with a concept of a ‘perception gap’ hypothesising a gap between the Others’ perception of the EU and the EU’s self-perception. It furthers the conceptualisation of a perception gap by suggesting to consider it at cognitive, normative and emotive levels in the image structure and arguing variation between the levels. The article contends that a perception gap is a critical factor in preventing genuine dialogue, engagement and listening — key concepts proposed by the collaborative diplomacy paradigm.

Chaban, N., & Elgström, O. (2020). A Perceptual Approach to EU Public Diplomacy: Investigating Collaborative Diplomacy in EU-Ukraine Relations, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 15(4), 488-516. doi: