Soft power: the evolution of a concept

Joseph Nye

Journal of Political Power


In this paper, I respond to the editors request that I look back on the concept of soft power that I first published in 1990. I describe my approach to power; explain the origins of the soft power concept in relation to the academic debates in international relations, and respond to several criticisms of the concept. I then discuss coercion and voluntarism illustrated by the concept of sharp power, and conclude by describing the evolution of the concept in relation to policy interests of several countries.

KEYWORDS: soft power hard power sharp power United States China Europe

Previous post Comparative Constitutionalism: Challenges of Constitutional Sovereignty in Iran and Iraq
Next post Arctic Diplomacy: A Theoretical Evaluation of Russian Foreign Policy in the High North