Dr Nicola Chelotti

Lecturer in Diplomacy and International Governance

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Dr Nicola Chelotti's teaching and research interests focus on negotiations, diplomacy and regional/international organizations, the EU in particular. The underlying theme is to understand how informal practices emerge in international interactions and shape policy processes and outcomes.

Dr Nicola Chelotti's main research outputs so far have concerned the study of diplomacy in Europe. Using an original database of 138 questionnaires (around 36% of the entire population) compiled by national negotiators in EU foreign policy – while also conducting 37 in-depth interviews with them – Dr Chelotti investigated how EU states formulate a common foreign and security policy. Out of this research, he has, inter alia, written two articles (published in Cooperation and Conflict and West European Politics) and just published a book, The Formulation of EU foreign policy. Socialization, negotiations and the disaggregation of the state (Routledge, 2016). This research confirms the very important role that single negotiators play in the formulation and negotiation of the national position in the EU. Individual diplomats enjoy good amount of freedom in identifying the goals and the tactics of the state. Yet, if single officials are relatively autonomous from capital-based structures, while being in constant contact with colleagues from other states, the decision-making process does not regularly produce collectively legitimized policies.

Academic background

After completing his first degree in Political Science at University of Pisa (joint degree with Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies), Dr Chelotti attained an MA in International Affairs (Diplomacy/International Cooperation), at ISPI (Milan) and an MSc in EU politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He then went back for Italy for my PhD (University of Florence), which investigated the decision-making processes of EU foreign and defence policy. Before joining Loughborough University (in 2016) as Lecturer in Diplomacy and International Governance, Dr Chelotti was an LSE Fellow in the Department of International Relations, at the London School of Economics. He previously held teaching and research positions at University of Pisa, University College London and University of Aberdeen. At UCL and LSE in particular, he taught on numerous different modules at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, on the European Union, both in its internal and external components, and in the field of International Relations.

Current research and collaborations

Emerging from the findings of his research on diplomacy in Europe, Dr Chelotti has several ongoing projects that deepen the analysis of the relationships between the disaggregation of the state, diplomacy and negotiations. One article (“Individuals, Disaggregation of the State and Negotiation Tactics: Evidence from the European Union”) explains when and why individual diplomats enjoy substantial leeway in multilateral negotiations. It argues that the state is disaggregated twice: first, from the political to administrative layer, and second, within the latter, from capital-based bodies to single negotiators. It then shows that negotiation tactics are de facto chosen by single diplomats, and not by the wider national bureaucratic machinery.

A second paper further develops the idea that the single negotiator is the primary point of reference of many state activities. Not only the fiction of a hierarchical state, which rationally pursues its interests, is rejected; there is evidence of the opposite trend – of what could be called a partial individualization of the negotiating state. Significantly, this partial individualization occurs not by design but emerges out of practical relations between individual diplomats in international settings and the national capital, which considerably alter the formal coordination systems of the national administration.

A third paper looks more in-depth at the practices and outputs of diplomatic interactions. In doing so, it responds to recent pleas to further connect diplomacy and practice research. In EU foreign/defence policy, cooperative practices have not displaced, while often being subordinated to, intergovernmental ways of doing things. Interest- and power-based relationships are accepted and regularly performed by national diplomats in the Council. On a whole, changing (intergovernmental) practices is difficult: even dense and largely autonomous settings such as the EU struggle to generate the conditions for consequential change to happen.

Interests and activities

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