The International Communication Section (ICOMM)

of the International Studies Association

Book Award

The International Communication Book Award is presented at the International Studies Association Annual Meeting to the book deemed to have made the most substantial impact in the area of International Communication in the context of international studies. The 2018 Book Award was presented to Professor Philip Seib at the ICOMM Business Meeting and Reception on April 5, 2018.

Nominations for the 2019 ICOMM Book Award are now closed.

2019 Best Book Award Committee Members

Philip Seib, Chair

Senem Cevik

Kenneth Rogerson

Efe Sevin

R.S. Zaharna

2018 Award Winner

1509507191USC Professor Philip Seib has been awarded the International Studies Association’s 2018 International Communication Book Award for The Future of #Diplomacy (Polity, 2016). Seib will receive the award at the International Communication Section business meeting at the ISA convention on Thursday April 5, 2018.

The book award committee selected Seib’s book from a collection of strong nominations for its cogent exploration of the centrality of diplomacy and technology to modern international politics. The Award Committee was particularly impressed by Seib’s emphasis on finding diplomatic solutions to some of the world’s thorniest problems and his prescient foresight into the growing role for technology in the diplomatic processes. The Future of #Diplomacy’s emphasis on the strategic significance of virtual states, the democratization of diplomatic tools, as well as the growing gap between elite policy discourse and the lived experiences of the working classes makes a notable contributions to the field of international communication, and ensures the text’s relevance for years to come.

Gordon Stables, Annenberg School of Journalism Interim Director and Associate Dean of Student Affairs remarked, “The USC Annenberg School for Journalism is thrilled and proud to see this well-deserved recognition of Professor Seib’s work. His scholarship highlights a series of very timely observations about the dramatic transformations taking place in global diplomacy.”

About the Author: Philip Seib is Professor of Journalism and Public Diplomacy and Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California. He served from 2009-2013 as director of USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy. He is author or editor of numerous books, including Terrorism Evolves; Headline Diplomacy; New Media and the New Middle East; The Al Jazeera Effect; Toward A New Public Diplomacy; Global Terrorism and New Media; Al Jazeera English; and Real-Time Diplomacy. He is editor of a book series on international political communication, co-editor of a series on global public diplomacy, and was a founding co-editor of the journal Media, War & Conflict.

More About the Book: In this crisp and insightful analysis, Philip Seib, one of the world’s top experts on media and foreign policy, explores the future of diplomacy in our hyper-connected world. He shows how the focus of diplomatic practice has shifted away from the closed-door, top-level negotiations of the past. Today’s diplomats are obliged to respond instantly to the latest crisis fueled by a YouTube video or Facebook post. This has given rise to a more open and reactive approach to global problem-solving with consequences that are difficult to predict. Drawing on examples from the Iran nuclear negotiations to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Seib argues persuasively for this new versatile and flexible public-facing diplomacy; one that makes strategic use of both new media and traditional diplomatic processes to manage the increasingly complex relations between states and new non-state political actors in the 21st Century.



2017 Award Winner

The Real Cyber War: The Political Economy of Internet Freedom – by Shawn M. Powers (Georgia State University) and Michael Jablonski (Georgia State University) (University of Illinois Press, 2015)

The ICOMM section selected a best book award winner in 2016/17, The Real Cyber War: The 51n4unmgcyl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Political Economy of Internet Freedom (University of Illinois Press, 2015), by Shawn M. Powers (Georgia State University) and Michael Jablonski (Georgia State University). The Real Cyber War examines the intersection of government intervention, corporate power, and technology through historical frameworks, legal analysis, and an incisive investigation of how states act to shape global information flows and the rules and values that sustain communication technology. The book award committee enthusiastically chose this book and argued it would have a significant and lasting impact on the study of international communication in the context of international relations. The committee noted the book’s strength in its contribution to theory building. The authors’ take was recognized as original, addressing how governments compete to influence policies about technologies, the technologies themselves, and the norms governing information. The impressive research with hard-to-obtain US government documents grounds the theoretical argument in empirical and practical bases that make it relevant to both scholars and practitioners of foreign policy.

2016 Award Winner

Strategic Narratives: Communication Power and the New World Order
Alister Miskimmon, Ben O’Loughlin & Laura Roselle (Routledge, 2013)

2011-10-12 16.45.04

2016 Book Award Winners: Alister Miskimmon, Ben O’Loughlin & Laura Roselle

Strategic Narratives: Communication Power and the New World Order has an ambitious agenda: to define and develop a more robust perspective on the foundations of world order. To do this, the authors guide the reader through the importance of narratives in both foreign policy and public diplomacy. These narratives–their formulation, projection, and reception–are indispensable to the production and maintenance of global order, hitherto conceived primarily in realist-materialist terms. The authors carefully unpack important trends across a range of geopolitical, as well as cultural and theoretical spaces, to present a unified framework that distills complex systems into meaningful understanding. At a time when acceptance of “soft power” is universally and uncritically adopted by both governments and the academic community, Strategic Narratives reminds us that the concept of “power” is neglected too readily in favor of more cultural approaches to strategic international communications. From the narrative of the book as a whole with its beautifully written and carefully researched and referenced chapters, to its powerful, cross-disciplinary arguments, this volume will serve as a foundation that informs and impacts the next generation of political communication and international relations scholarship (and practice).

More about the Book

Strategic Narratives Routledge book cover.tifCommunication is central to how we understand international affairs. Political leaders, diplomats, and citizens recognize that communication shapes global politics. This has only been amplified in a new media environment characterized by Internet access to information, social media, and the transformation of who can communicate and how. Soft power, public diplomacy 2.0, network power – scholars and policymakers are concerned with understanding what is happening.

This book is the first to develop a systematic framework to understand how political actors seek to shape order through narrative projection in this new environment. To explain the changing world order – the rise of the BRICS, the dilemmas of climate change, poverty and terrorism, the intractability of conflict – the authors explore how actors form and project narratives and how third parties interpret and interact with these narratives. The concept of strategic narrative draws together the most salient of international relations concepts, including the links between power and ideas; international and domestic; and state and non-state actors. The book is anchored around four themes: order, actors, uncertainty, and contestation. Through these, Strategic Narratives shows both the possibilities and the limits of communication and power, and makes an important contribution to theorizing and studying empirically contemporary international relations.

Nomination Guidelines

The International Communication Book Award is presented at the International Studies Association Annual Meeting to the book that is nominated and deemed to have made the most substantial impact in the area of International Communication in the context of international studies. Nominations are solicited each summer for the following year’s Award. We will begin accepting nominations for the 2019 book award in May 2018.

The Guidelines:

  • The book must be published and have a copyright date that falls within the five year period preceding the year that of the competition. For example, books published in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 are eligible to be nominated for the 2019 Award.
  • Recipient(s) must be a current member of ISA. The award is open to both members and non-members of ISA. However, any non-member recipient must join the Association to receive the award.
  • The book may have more than one author, but edited volumes, textbooks and translations are not eligible.
  • The nomination must be made by a member of the International Communication Section.
  • The publisher or author should be able to provide five examination copies or e-copies to the members of the award committee.
  • In the event that the selection committee finds there is no book worthy of the award, no award will be given.
  • Nominations for the 2019 ICOMM Book Award are now closed.
  • If you have questions concerning the Book Award, please direct them to ISAICOMM [AT]



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