Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


International Relations


Amy Oakes

Committee Members

Marcus Holmes

Faraz Sheikh


How do political dynamics between countries and the individual characteristics of diplomatic spouses affect their ability to take on a “buffer” role—that is, make interactions less contentious? The existing literature on diplomatic spouses focuses on gendered advantages that allow spouses to access unique information. Building on this body of literature, this study investigates the ideal setting for spouses to contribute to the diplomatic process. A content analysis was conducted of three memoirs written by diplomatic spouses, and this data was supplemented with semi-structured interviews of spouses of former or current bureaucratic elites from India and Pakistan. The analysis shows that multi-lateral interactions, uncertain circumstances, and hosting in personal households are the most conducive conditions to perform the “buffer” role. However, the ideal individual characteristics of spouses vary based on where other members of the diplomatic community are from. Therefore, certain political dynamics do have an effect on diplomatic spouses’ abilities to ease tensions during interactions.