soft power

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Coined by American political scientist Joseph Nye in the late 1980s and popularized in the 1990 book “Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power”.[1]


soft power (uncountable)

  1. (politics) Political influence that is extended by means of diplomacy, media, international assistance, cultural exchanges, etc., rather than by such "hard" means as military intervention or punitive economic measures.
    • 1999 March 8, Joseph S. Nye Jr., "The Challenge of Soft Power," Time:
      Soft power is a country's cultural and ideological appeal. It is the ability to get desired outcomes through attraction instead of force.
    • 2007 May 23, Jim Yardley, "Blocked by U.S., China finds it own way to space," New York Times (retrieved 16 July 2011):
      The bank often provides the hard currency for Chinese soft power aspirations: In Africa, China ExIm has handed out more than $7 billion in loans in recent years.
    • 2011 Jan. 8, "More Indian cultural centres to showcase soft power: PM," (retrieved 16 July 2011):
      India will set up cultural centres in five more countries to showcase its soft power and acquire a global footprint for its rich diversity, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Saturday.


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Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Joseph Samuel Nye Jr. (1990) Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, New York: Basic Books, →ISBN