Dr. Alina Dolea, Principal Academic in Media, Communication and Politics, has been selected 2022-2024 Research Fellow of the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California. She is currently the Chair of the Public Diplomacy Interest Group and member in the Board of Directors of the International Communication Association, that gathers more than 4,500 members in 80 countries and is officially associated with the United Nations as a non-governmental association. Alina’s research is situated at the intersection of public diplomacy, migration, media and communication studies, with a focus on discourse and her 2022–24 CPD Research Fellowship project is titled “Diaspora diplomacy, emotions and disruption”.
Her project aims to explore the neglected role of emotions in the study of diaspora diplomacy, especially in a COVID-19 context that legitimized diaspora as a transnational actor in its own right in public diplomacy. More importantly, diasporas have emerged as disruptors, challenging their more traditional roles of agents, instruments, and partners in PD. Conceptually, the project brings together strands of literature in public diplomacy, migration and diaspora studies, as well as international relations with a focus on emotions to answer the key research question of “how can we integrate studies on emotions in diaspora diplomacy to understand their enabling but also their disruptive role?”. While emotions have started to be studied in PD, exploring systematically the role of emotions in diaspora diplomacy can actually offer new insights into the wider current debate on the public as a problem, as well as shed light on questions regarding disruption in PD. Methodologically, it proposes an analysis of diasporas from within to unpack the seeming ‘uniformity’ of diaspora and the homeland loyalties conflated in the concept of citizen diplomat, as well as to capture contestation and challenges. Emotions in diaspora diplomacy are operationalized and explored through a series of interviews with representatives of diaspora groups and associations to identify the construction of emotional ties, a typology of roles and identities that diaspora representatives assume. While focused on the Romanian diaspora in the UK, this project can inform studies on other diasporas to trace emergent emotions and their potential disruptive impact. Proposing a critical perspective on emotions and transnationalism of diaspora, this research can ultimately advance the study and policy making in diaspora diplomacy. As such, it is of relevance to policymakers, practitioners, scholars, as well as journalists interested in understanding these increasingly complex diaspora emotional ties.
More details about the USC CPD Research Fellowship program can be found here: Welcoming the 2022–24 CPD Research Fellows | USC Center on Public Diplomacy (uscpublicdiplomacy.org)