Reflections of a Soft Power Agnostic

Rawnsley, G.D. (2016) Reflections of a Soft Power Agnostic. In: China's Media and Soft Power in Africa: Promotion and Perceptions. Palgrave Series in Asia and Pacific Studies . Springer, pp. 19-31. ISBN 9781137545657, 9781349713776, 9781137539670

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As the title suggests, I am a self-confessed soft power agnostic, and I write this chapter from the intersection of international relations and international communications where I am progressively convinced that the term �soft power� is fast becoming a redundant and empty catch-all term that means everything and therefore nothing. The pace and scale of its adoption by governments and by colleagues within the academy has obscured our sensitivity to the concept�s utility. Moreover, it enjoys such a level of almost unquestioned credibility and prominence that we are now pressed to engage with the meaning, exercise, and value of soft power as a way of understanding modern international relations and statecraft from a far more critical perspective. A more satisfying and precise approach requires us to unpack the term so that its core components, including public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, international exchanges, and international broadcasting are used in the way they were designed to be used: as labels for distinct communicative practices, each with its own methods, objectives, audiences, and architectures. When used as an umbrella term, a mere convenience, the simple descriptor �soft power� fails to capture the nuances of each type of international engagement and their possible consequences. © 2016, Gary D. Rawnsley.

Subjects:L Social studies > L200 Politics
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:53390
Deposited On:28 Jul 2023 09:02

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