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The soft power-soft disempowerment nexus: the case of Qatar

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journal contribution
posted on 09.07.2018, 13:32 by Paul M. Brannagan, Richard GiulianottiRichard Giulianotti
In 1990, Joseph Nye coined the term ‘soft power’ to refer to the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion. Since its inception, the concept has featured as a consistent analytic tool for explaining the motives underpinning states’ international affairs. There are, however, four areas in which soft power is open to critical scrutiny. First, research has centred on large and/or developed nations, notably in North America, Europe, and South and East Asia. Second, scholars have called for greater clarity of the concept, noting that it lacks clear explanation of how instances of attraction equate to various power outcomes. Third, others suggest Nye produces an Americanized-centric understanding of soft power, equating to a narrow-focused account of what constitutes ‘attraction’. Finally, research has failed to examine how states’ soft power attempts can backfire, leading to what we call ‘soft disempowerment’. Drawing on the case of Qatar – with a particular focus on the state’s acquisition of the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals - we seek to offer responses to these criticisms, by refining the concept of soft power to take account of variegated power outcomes, to do so in relation to a small-state, non-American context, and to explore the intersections of soft power and soft disempowerment. In doing so, we introduce the ‘soft power-soft disempowerment nexus’ which, we go on to argue, affords an analytical framework for examining how soft power works and how it may be hampered through negative international scrutiny.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

International Affairs

Volume

94

Issue

5

Pages

1139 - 1157

Citation

BRANNAGAN, P.M. and GIULIANOTTI, R., 2018. The soft power-soft disempowerment nexus: the case of Qatar. International Affairs, 94(5), pp. 1139–1157.

Publisher

© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Institute of International Affair

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Acceptance date

04/05/2018

Publication date

2018-09-01

Notes

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Oxford University Press under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

ISSN

0020-5850

eISSN

1468-2346

Language

en

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Keywords

Exports