Much of the work of interstate relations is ultimately carried out by bureaucrats. Individual officers within diplomatic, military, and intelligence bureaucracies, trade and investment agencies, and international organizations play vital roles in global commerce, cooperation, and governance. Yet, despite their ubiquity in the conduct of international politics, foreign policy bureaucrats have only recently become a major focus of international relations scholarship.
A focus on bureaucratic agents and institutions allows for more rigorous testing of established international relations theories, and opens up a world of new research questions: for example, how and when are foreign policy bureaucrats able to exert independent influence over political outcomes? What pathologies—perhaps generated by the incentive for career advancement—exist within these bureaucracies, and what are their consequences? How does the institutional design of foreign policy bureaucracies influence a state’s foreign relations? This workshop brings together scholars using innovative methods and new data to study diplomats and other foreign policy bureaucrats, in order to both facilitate discussion and collaboration, and to catalyze the coherence of an emerging field of study.