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Encyclopedia > Soft power

Soft power is a term used in international relations theory to describe the ability of a political body, such as a state, to indirectly influence the behavior or interests of other political bodies through cultural or ideological means. The term was first coined by Harvard University professor Joseph Nye, who remains its most prominent proponent, in a 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power. He further developed the concept in his 2004 book, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. While its usefulness as a descriptive theory has not gone unchallenged, soft power has since entered popular political discourse as a way of distinguishing the subtle effects of culture, values and ideas on others' behavior from more direct coercive measures, such as military action (hard power) or economic incentives. Image File history File links Information_icon. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      International relations (IR), a branch of political science, is the study of foreign affairs and global issues among states within the international system, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational corporations (MNCs). ... Politics is the process by which decisions are made within groups. ... A state is a political association with effective dominion over a geographic area. ... Interest is the rent paid to borrow money. ... The word culture, from the Latin colo, -ere, with its root meaning to cultivate, generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. ... An ideology is a collection of ideas. ... Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Ivy League. ... The meaning of the word professor (Latin: one who claims publicly to be an expert) varies. ... Joseph Nye (born 1937) is the founder, along with Robert Keohane, of the international relations theory neoliberalism (international relations) developed in their 1977 book Power and Interdependence. ... MCMXC redirects here; for the Enigma album, see MCMXC a. ... Hard power is a concept which is mainly used in realism in international relations and refers to national power which comes from military and economic means. ... Economics (deriving from the Greek words οίκω [okos], house, and νέμω [nemo], rules hence household management) is the social science that studies the allocation of scarce resources to satisfy unlimited wants. ...

Contents

Definition

The basic concept of power is the ability to influence others to get them to do what you want. There are three major ways to do that: one is to threaten them with sticks; the second is to pay them with carrots; the third is to attract them or co-opt them, so that they want what you want. If you can get others to be attracted, to want what you want, it costs you much less in carrots and sticks. [1] In the context of international relations and diplomacy, power (sometimes clarified as international power, national power, or state power) is the ability of one state to influence or control other states. ...

Soft power, then, represents the third way of getting the outcomes you want. Soft power is contrasted with hard power, which has historically been the predominant realist measure of national power, through quantitative metrics such as population size, concrete military assets, or a nation's Gross Domestic Product. But having such resources does not always produce the desired outcomes as the United States discovered in the Vietnam War. The resources from which soft power behavior is derived are culture (when it is attractive to others), values (when there is no hypocrisy in their application) and foreign policies (when they are seen as legitimate in the eyes of others). Unless these conditions are present, culture and ideas do not necessarily produce the attraction that is essential for soft power behavior. The extent of attraction can be measured by public opinion polls, by elite interviews, and case studies. Nye argues that soft power is more than influence, since influence can also rest on the hard power of threats or payments. And soft power is more than just persuasion or the ability to move people by argument, though that is an important part of it. It is also the ability to attract, and attraction often leads to acquiescence. Hard power is a concept which is mainly used in realism in international relations and refers to national power which comes from military and economic means. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      International relations (IR), a branch of political science, is the study of foreign affairs and global issues among states within the international system, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational corporations (MNCs). ... A scale for measuring mass A quantitative property is one that exists in a range of magnitudes, and can therefore be measured. ... Metrics are a system of parameters or ways of quantitative and periodic assessment of a process that is to be measured, along with the procedures to carry out such measurement and the procedures for the interpretation of the assessment in the light of previous or comparable assessments. ... GDP is an acronym which can stand for more than one thing: (in economics) an abbreviation for Gross Domestic Product. ...

If I am persuaded to go along with your purposes without any explicit threat or exchange taking place — in short, if my behavior is determined by an observable but intangible attraction — soft power is at work. Soft power uses a different type of currency — not force, not money — to engender cooperation. It uses an attraction to shared values, and the justness and duty of contributing to the achievement of those values. [2]

The success of soft power heavily depends on the actor’s reputation within the international community, as well as the flow of information between actors. Thus, soft power is often associated with the rise of globalization and neoliberal international relations theory. Popular culture and media is regularly identified as a source of soft power, as is the spread of a national language, or a particular set of normative structures; a nation with a large amount of soft power and the good will that engenders it inspire others to acculturate, avoiding the need for expensive hard power expenditures. Look up reputation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... It has been suggested that World community be merged into this article or section. ... A KFC franchise in Kuwait. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      International relations (IR), a branch of political science, is the study of foreign affairs and global issues among states within the international system, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational corporations (MNCs). ... Popular culture, sometimes called pop culture, consists of widespread cultural elements in any given society. ... In philosophy, normative is usually contrasted with positive, descriptive or explanatory when describing types of theories, beliefs, or statements. ... Pocahontas, in England, as Mrs John Rolfe, 1616: engraving after Simon Van de Passe Acculturation is the obtainment of culture by an individual or a group of people. ... Hard power is a concept which is mainly used in realism in international relations and refers to national power which comes from military and economic means. ...


References

  • The Benefits of Soft Power
  • Power

Further reading

  • Keohane, Robert and Joseph Nye. "Power, Interdependence and the Information Age" from Conflict After the Cold War
  • Jentleson, Bruce. "Principles: The Coming of a Democratic Century?" from American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century
  • Nye, Joseph. Propaganda Isn't the Way: Soft Power
  • Nye, Joseph, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics
  • John McCormick The European Superpower (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). Argues that the European Union has used soft power effectively to emerge as an alternative and as a competitor to the heavy reliance of the US on hard power.
  • Matthew Fraser, Weapons of Mass Distraction: Soft Power and American Empire (St. Martin's Press, 2005). Analysis is focused on the pop culture aspect of soft power, such as movies, television, pop music, Disneyland, and American fast-food brands including Coca-Cola and McDonald's.

This article concerns the Irish tenor. ... Matthew Fraser is known for his role in the U.S. Supreme Court case of On April 26, 1983, Fraser delivered a sexually-explicit speech to his fellow students at Bethel High School, prompting disciplinary action from the administration. ... Headquartered in the legendary Flatiron Building in New York City, St. ... Popular culture, or pop culture, is the vernacular (peoples) culture that prevails in a modern society. ... }} For popular forms of music in general, see Popular music. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... Fast food is food cooked in bulk and in advance and kept warm, or reheated to order. ... The wave shape (known as the dynamic ribbon device) present on all Coca-Cola cans throughout the world derives from the contour of the original Coca-Cola bottles. ... McDonalds Corporation (NYSE: MCD) is the worlds largest chain of fast-food restaurants, primarily selling hamburgers, chicken, french fries, milkshakes and soft drinks. ...

See also


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Term of use - Power Soft (999 words)
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Foreign Affairs - The Decline of America's Soft Power - Joseph S. Nye, Jr. (722 words)
Skeptics of soft power (Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld professes not even to understand the term) claim that popularity is ephemeral and should not guide foreign policy.
Soft power, therefore, is not just a matter of ephemeral popularity; it is a means of obtaining outcomes the United States wants.
Some hard-line skeptics might counter that, whatever its merits, soft power has little importance in the current war against terrorism; after all, Osama bin Laden and his followers are repelled, not attracted, by American culture and values.
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