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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date10/2012
JournalAsian Perspective -Seoul-
Journal number4
Volume36
Number of pages23
Pages591-613
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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.