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How soft is "soft power"?: unstable dichotomies at Expo 2010

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Asian Perspective -Seoul-
Issue number4
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)591-613
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


Examining three key symbols and three key practices at Expo 2010, this article argues that if we read these symbols and practices with sensitivity to their plural messages, the traditional binaries of hard and soft power become unworkable. Expo's symbols contain possible messages of the harmony, benevolence, and legitimacy of China's rise, but one can simultaneously read them to express violent harmonization, coercion, and illegitimacy. There are implications here for policymakers and researchers.