The Rhetoric of Soft Power: Public Diplomacy in Global Contexts

Overview

The Rhetoric of Soft Power: Public Diplomacy in Global Contexts provides a comparative assessment of public diplomacy and strategic communication initiatives, in order to portray how Joseph Nye’s notion of “soft power” has translated into context-specific strategies of international influence. The book examines four cases – Japan, Venezuela, China, and the United States – to illuminate the particular significance of culture, foreign publics, and communication technologies for ...

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The Rhetoric of Soft Power: Public Diplomacy in Global Contexts

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Overview

The Rhetoric of Soft Power: Public Diplomacy in Global Contexts provides a comparative assessment of public diplomacy and strategic communication initiatives, in order to portray how Joseph Nye’s notion of “soft power” has translated into context-specific strategies of international influence. The book examines four cases – Japan, Venezuela, China, and the United States – to illuminate the particular significance of culture, foreign publics, and communication technologies for the foreign policy ambitions of each country.
The book explores the notion of soft power as set of theoretical arguments about power, and as a reflection of how each country perceives what is an increasingly necessary perspective on international relations in an age of ubiquitous global communication flows and encroaching networks of non-state actors. Soft power is discussed a means by which public diplomacy is justified and in the process, reflects arguments for how each state sees what is possible through soft power. Through an interpretive analysis of policy discourse, public diplomacy initiatives and related programs of strategic influence – soft power in each case represents a localized formation of assumptions about the requirements of persuasion, the relevance of foreign audiences to state goals, and the perception of what counts as a soft power resource.
As the book demonstrates, each country articulates perspectives that challenge the universality of the soft power concept. Soft power has grown to be truly global concept that foregrounds the significance of international communication; soft power is a hybrid concept that retains the basic idea that international objectives can be achieved through non-coercive means, yet is inevitably refracted through the prism of local strategic concerns and history. The book contributes to the growing interdisciplinary community of scholars interested in soft power, public diplomacy, and international strategic communication. It provides an unprecedented comparative investigation of the relationship between soft power and public diplomacy.

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Editorial Reviews

Philip Seib
Scholars and practitioners of public diplomacy are certain to benefit from this thoughtful examination of the articulation of soft power. Public diplomacy is driven in part by the quality of rhetoric that is presented to global publics, and Craig Hayden does a fine job of analyzing the significance of communication in this important element of nations’ foreign policy.
Monroe E. Price
Hayden takes a complex area of increasing geopolitical significance and gives us a clear and direct road map. As states vie to determine the effects of their travails, Hayden’s comparative study is both timely and original.
R.S. Zaharna
Hayden has filled a gap in the comparative public diplomacy literature by illustrating how different visions of soft power can produce different public diplomacy practices, programs, and goals.His richly informed analysis of four major actors is guided by an original theoretical framework based on the scope, mechanism, and outcomes of soft power.
Choice
Hayden (American Univ.) offers a welcome, much-needed analysis of what has become one of the most discussed concepts in international relations—soft power. Joseph S. Nye's concept of soft power has gained much attention in recent years, yet a thorough theoretical analysis has been sorely lacking. Hayden provides this analysis by merging this concept with the notion of public diplomacy, which he defines broadly as purposive attempts by actors to communicate in global media, cultural, and information spaces. In the author's own words, the book's goal is "to develop a theoretical treatment of soft power and public diplomacy through an interdisciplinary investigation of what is demonstratively a transnational, interdisciplinary phenomenon." The book succeeds in this goal. One of Hayden's main contributions is to not only offer a fresh analysis of US debates over the use of soft power in light of increased anti-Americanism in recent years. He also offers a rich comparative analysis of how soft power is deployed in the crucial states of China, Japan, and Venezuela, demonstrating how the key soft power notions of influence and persuasion are conceived of differently in different national contexts. Summing Up: Highly recommended.
CHOICE
Hayden (American Univ.) offers a welcome, much-needed analysis of what has become one of the most discussed concepts in international relations—soft power. Joseph S. Nye's concept of soft power has gained much attention in recent years, yet a thorough theoretical analysis has been sorely lacking. Hayden provides this analysis by merging this concept with the notion of public diplomacy, which he defines broadly as purposive attempts by actors to communicate in global media, cultural, and information spaces. In the author's own words, the book's goal is "to develop a theoretical treatment of soft power and public diplomacy through an interdisciplinary investigation of what is demonstratively a transnational, interdisciplinary phenomenon." The book succeeds in this goal. One of Hayden's main contributions is to not only offer a fresh analysis of US debates over the use of soft power in light of increased anti-Americanism in recent years. He also offers a rich comparative analysis of how soft power is deployed in the crucial states of China, Japan, and Venezuela, demonstrating how the key soft power notions of influence and persuasion are conceived of differently in different national contexts. Summing Up: Highly recommended.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Craig Hayden is assistant professor of international communication at the School of International Service at American University. He has taught at the University of Virginia’s Department of Media Studies and at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication. Craig was named a Research Fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy in 2009. He blogs at the International Media Argument Project (www.intermap.org).

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Evaluating Soft Power: Toward a Comparative Framework
Chapter 3: Japan: Culture, Pop Culture, and the National Brand
Chapter 4: Venezuela: Telesur and the Artillery of Ideas
Chapter 5: China: Cultivating a Global Soft Power
Chapter 6: United States of America: Public Diplomacy 2.0 and 21st Century Statecraft
Chapter 7: Conclusion

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