chapter  4
18 Pages

Delusional desire: soft power and television drama

Power, in Weberian terms, is the ability to get others to do things that they may not be willing to do. In hard power, this is done through coercion. In soft power, it is supposedly achieved through different modes of persuasion – convincing the other that your views on the situation at hand are attractive views and that they should, or do indeed, desire the same thing as you. The idea of soft power was developed by American political scientist Joseph Nye: “A country may obtain the outcomes it wants in world politics because other countries, admiring its values, emulating its example, aspiring to its level of prosperity and openness – want to follow it”; thus, “Soft power rests on the ability to shape the preferences of others” (Nye 2004: 5). Nye further suggests that one of the resources for the exercise of soft power is “culture,” which he defines as “the set of values and practices that create meaning for society,” and that it is common to distinguish between high culture such as literature, art, and education, which appeals to elites, and popular culture, which focuses on mass entertainment” (Nye 2004: 11). In the US case, soft power had been developed through the export of education, ideology, and culture.