PD in Review: The Rhetoric of Soft Power

In her review of Craig Hayden's The Rhetoric of Soft Power: Public Diplomacy in Global Contexts, CPD Summer Institute Alum Emily Metzgar notes that the book is "a well-researched discussion of soft power and its application in the name of public diplomacy." The book is one of Hayden's contributions to the academic study of public diplomacy.

In Metzgar's review she writes,

Hayden sets clear boundaries for the book, noting it is not intended to evaluate public diplomacy outcomes; rather, the goal is to 'develop a theoretical treatment [of] soft power and public diplomacy through an interdisciplinary investigation' (p. 3) using interpretative and observational methods. Writing about the investigatory process, Hayden explains that he employs textual analysis designed to illustrate the contexts of soft power and its manifestations in public diplomacy.

"The interdisciplinary nature of public diplomacy is clear throughout the book. On this point Hayden notes 'ever increasingly, the business of soft power links the resources of communication with the imperatives of politics' (p. 4). The three research questions at the book’s core explore these connections between international politics and communication theory at different levels: First is the question of how policy intentions are expressed through public diplomacy and strategic communication. Second is the question of how countries’ intentions and behaviors are received in the international system. The final question concerns what different nations’ public diplomacy practices reveal about their assumptions surrounding communication’s influence in the international system. The answer Hayden offers is that soft power - both its promotion and its exercise - can serve as the justification for many examples of state behavior."

Read the review in its entirety by clicking here.

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