soft power

n.
Power based on intangible or indirect influences such as culture, values, and ideology.
Example Citation:
The US's best soft power analyst is Harvard's Kennedy School dean Joseph Nye, who defines the concept as "co-opting people rather than coercing them". For Nye the essence of soft power lies in values — "in our culture and in the way we handle ourselves internationally". It's about creating a sense of legitimacy for a nation's international aims. Soft power is, of course, both easy and hard for the US. It is the model and anti-model, the focus of imitation and the target of hatred. Nye nominates Canada, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries as states whose political influence is greater than their hard power would permit. The explanation lies in their astute manipulation of soft power.
— Paul Kelly, "Soft option for hard heads," The Weekend Australian, June 8, 2002
First Use:
But if the United States were to follow policies that cut domestic consumption by the two percent of GNP by which it rose in the past decade, the richest country in the world could afford both better education at home and the international influence that comes from an effective aid and information program abroad. What is needed is increased investment in "soft power," the complex machinery of interdependence, rather than in "hard power" — that is, expensive new weapons systems.
— Joseph S. Nye, Jr., "The misleading metaphor of decline," The Atlantic, March, 1990
Notes:
The Joseph Nye mention in the above cite is not only the "best soft power analyst" (an assertion I found in many of the citations I looked at), but he was also the first, having coined the term in the early 90s (see the first use).
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Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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… …   Wikipedia

  • Soft Power — (im deutschen auch als weiche Macht bezeichnet) ist ein von Joseph Nye geprägter politikwissenschaftlicher Begriff, der die politische Machtausübung (insbesondere die Einflussnahme in den internationalen Beziehungen) auf Grundlage kultureller… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • soft power — noun (esp US) The power of a nation to influence others by displaying the advantages of its own cultural, social, financial, etc systems without the use of military power • • • Main Entry: ↑soft …   Useful english dictionary

  • Soft power — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Power. Le soft power ou la puissance douce est un concept utilisé en relations internationales. Développé par le professeur américain Joseph Nye il a été repris depuis une décennie par de nombreux leaders… …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • soft power — /ˈsɒft paʊə/ (say soft powuh) noun a strategy in a country s international relations which typically uses economic and cultural collaboration and largesse to generate the rapport between countries that is conducive to successful negotiations …   Australian English dictionary

  • soft power — UK / US noun [uncountable] the influence that a country has as a result of its culture, institutions, business, etc. rather than its military power …   English dictionary

  • Soft Power (radio) — Présentateur(s) Frédéric Martel Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Power in international relations — The chamber of the United Nations Security Council Power in international relations is defined in several different ways. Political scientists, historians, and practitioners of international relations (diplomats) have used the following concepts… …   Wikipedia

  • Power (philosophy) — Powerful redirects here. For other uses, see Power (disambiguation). Power is a measurement of an entity s ability to control its environment, including the behavior of other entities. The term authority is often used for power perceived as… …   Wikipedia


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