Foreign diplomatic representation is a feature of national and other capital cities as centres of political and other forms power, the significance of which in cultural terms has previously been granted minor attention. Using the cases of the U.S., Dutch and Brazilian missions in the City of Tshwane (Pretoria), it is evident their meaning takes two forms: firstly, in the built environment and secondly, in cultural and public diplomacy activities that engage cityzens in new ways of thinking and being.
The form of primary diplomatic sites, chanceries, embodies the national community around which their representation is constructed. Armed with a legitimate claim on the space they occupy they are a part of the city imaginary in their various shapes, sizes and styles where they communicate intent through their architecture, symbolism and activities. The identity, structure and intended meaning of chanceries would however be an incomplete project were it not for cityzenry s casual observers and active participants, as well as diplomatic and other chancery staff, who are instrumental in constituting the site and its purpose.
Exploring beyond the chancery, places in the city also become diplomatic sites when utilized by missions for their cultural and public diplomacy. These activities again reify the nation state promising a platform for the affirmation of community in a city of loosely associated cityzens. Additionally, in the present context of multiplied choices for personal identity formation, missions attract audiences through language schools, art exhibitions, theatre, music and film festivals, workshops, seminars and panel discussions. This facilitation of voluntary association is the post-political, post-economic significance of diplomatic representation in the City of Tshwane.
Primary data is sourced from select interviews with diplomats and cityzens, as well as the web pages of ministries of foreign affairs and embassies. Secondary data is taken from urban studies and diplomatic studies literature.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2016.